Letter from Student Affairs at St. Mary’s College of Maryland Addresses Off-Campus Party

August 22, 2020

The following letter was sent to parents and students of  St. Mary’s College of Maryland:

Dear Seahawks,

We have learned that a significant number of students attended an off-campus party the weekend of August 15, where expected pandemic mitigation protocols may not have been followed. Students must understand that these perceived actions have consequences. This type of behavior threatens a successful fall semester for all of us. We have already seen other campuses transition to remote plans and remove students from their communities for similar actions. Off-campus house parties often play a significant role in spreading the virus. We expect more from our students.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland has a zero-tolerance stance of violations of this nature due to its high risk of COVID-19 danger to members of the campus community. Based on this, we have placed an immediate, temporary ban on these students’ participation in living on campus, on-campus activities, and in-person courses. Because this sort of behavior threatens a successful fall term for all of us, these students have been directed to continue to attend classes virtually. Each will virtually attend a hearing to determine their responsibility and potential sanctions for the fall semester.

In accordance with public health protocols, each of the students involved in the party will have COVID-19 testing completed. If a student tests positive, the contact tracing process will begin and those impacted will be contacted by the St. Mary’s County Health Department.

Due to the heightened risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus, we have asked our campus community to refrain from engaging in activities that are not conducive to social distancing such as hosting and attending large gatherings, including off-campus gatherings and events. We should all assume everyone we come in contact with is an asymptomatic carrier. Violation of published College policies, rules, and regulations is misconduct that is subject to disciplinary action, as provided in the Code of Student Conduct and Community Pledge.

The precautions we have asked our College community to follow, outlined in the Reopening SMCM – The St. Mary’s Way website, are reasonable precautions to take during a pandemic. Read these guidelines and hold yourself and others accountable. If you have questions, ask. Please remember to notify the Office of Public Safety if you see members of the College community breaking these guidelines.

Let’s all do our part to keep our campus community safe.

Shana Meyer

Vice President for Student Affairs