The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity in Boulder will be fined for a gathering that drew 120 students to the organization’s house on University Hill this week, flouting COVID-19 health protocols.
Marc Stine, who oversees the Interfraternity Council on the Hill, would not disclose the amount of the fine the governing organization is levying against Sigma Alpha Epsilon, but described it as “significant.”
“That fine is for violating public health rules, but it’s also for embarrassing the fraternity community so publicly,” Stine said Thursday. “Yesterday was the first time that we had evidence of a large gathering of students on a fraternity property without masks or social distancing.”
My GF lives on The Hill but doesn’t have Reddit and wanted me to share a party pic from cuboulder
Wednesday’s gathering was planned as a pre-rush get-together under the incorrect assumption that the fraternity was classified as a venue that was allowed to host 40 people, Stine said. However, the event grew larger, with about 80 University of Colorado students there at any given point and a total of 120 students passing through together, Stine said.
Chana Goussetis, spokeswoman for Boulder County Public Health, said gatherings should be limited to 10 people with social distancing, mask wearing and hygiene guidance being followed if the people attending do not live in the same household.
Leaders of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Boulder chapter could not be reached Thursday.
CU Boulder, along with other colleges, has been upfront about placing responsibility for a safe and successful in-person semester on its students, asking them to alter their behavior in the face of the pandemic or face consequences.
Because CU Boulder is unaffiliated from the majority of the fraternities that line its campus, the university can’t impose sanctions on fraternity chapters, but university officials do have the authority to enforce the student code of conduct on individual students.
In a Thursday message to the campus community, CU said there were large gatherings off campus this week and that the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution was “working through the adjudication process for instances where they received sufficient information.”
A university email was to be sent to all students later Thursday reinforcing expectations and explaining how to address large gatherings that may occur.
Pictures of the gathering, showing large crowds of unmasked young men outside the fraternity house, made their way around social media, with students and community members chiding the get-together for shirking public health guidelines.
Stine said one woman drove around the Hill searching for parties or gatherings she could photograph.
“I’ll say that’s not because she hates fraternities, although she may,” Stine said. “I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say she doesn’t want to die from those kinds of gatherings.”
Stine said this will be a challenging year as recruitment events will have to be held largely online. Nevertheless, Stine said 533 undergraduate men at CU Boulder have registered to rush with IFC on the Hill, up 30% from this time last year.
“It’s a seller’s market, as they say,” Stine said.
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