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University of Arizona: Throw a party during pandemic, face suspension
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University of Arizona: Throw a party during pandemic, face suspension

The UA Foundation received $1.57 million. The school’s massive endowment can’t be used for operating expenses.

University of Arizona students could face suspensions if they’re found in violation of health safety rules during the coronavirus pandemic, the administration says.

President Robert C. Robbins made the comments Thursday after acknowledging the administration is aware of social media posts claiming intentions to throw parties in town once classes resume Aug. 24.

“I hope it’s a wake-up call to our students not to engage in this type of selfish, reckless behavior. It’s not good for your own health, but more importantly it endangers others,” Robbins said during a news conference.

Robbins added that, “We will try to do the best we can to educate, and we’ve got measures up to suspension from school if you violate the rules that we’re setting. We don’t want to be so draconian about this, but this is life-and-death matters.”

The administration believes about 20,000 people may end up returning to the main campus.

The university will continue to monitor campus activities and rely on students within the UA’s Emergency Medical Services and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health to help educate peers about health safety precautions.

There will be enhanced sanitizing of areas, lower class density, masks, physical distancing and other safeguards on campus, but the university will have much less control over what goes on when students are off campus.

Richard Carmona, UA’s re-entry task force leader, said they can “only control what we know about” around campus, and the onus is on each individual to make the best decisions to benefit themselves and the community.

“A lot of this is an honor system. If the student is compliant here and then goes out and engages in a party at a private location with people that are infected, and they bring it back, certainly it’s at risk,” Carmona said about the upcoming semester.

There are also worries about the high transmissibility of the virus among young adults and should put some students on notice that they can get sick. In Pima County, there have been 6,657 known cases of those in the 20- to 44-year-old age range.

“The challenge here when you look at this group of the highest transmissibility, this is part of the group that’s going to come back to our campus, and if they’re not willing to change their behaviors … we cannot be successful in keeping the university open,” Carmona said.

Robbins reiterated a statement made months ago that a campus shutdown always remains a possibility.

“If we can’t control it, if it becomes too much of an outbreak because people can’t follow the rules, then we’ll go back to remote only, and we’ll send people home. It’s as simple as that,” Robbins said.

Contact Star reporter Shaq Davis at 573-4218 or

On Twitter: @ShaqDavis1

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