• Ohio State University issued 228 interim suspension orders to students as of Monday
  • Students were warned of possible suspensions as university’s student conduct team investigated cases
  • Several large parties were reported early this month in university district flouting health safety rules

At least 228 Ohio State University students, who officials said violated guidelines around social gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, were temporarily suspended even before classes began Tuesday.

Vice President of Student Life Melissa Shivers had signaled about the suspensions last month as students started moving back to campus beginning Aug. 12. Shivers sent out a note mandating students to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and limit gatherings to no more than 10 people. She had warned in the note that few students were being screened by the university’s student conduct team.

Shivers had also said student organizations involved in unsafe gatherings could have their university recognition and funding revoked.

“Perhaps knowing about the action we are taking will influence your decisions and prompt you to encourage others to take this situation seriously,” Shivers wrote in her letter on Aug. 21, CNN reported. “And remember that this is all about more than the individual. We have one shot at this — responding to what so many of you asked for: an on campus semester at Ohio State.”

School spokesman Benjamin Johnson told CNN that the Office of Student Life was monitoring off-campus neighborhoods and was reporting students who might have broken rules.

The suspensions and warnings came after it emerged that several large parties were held in the university district flouting physical distancing or mask rules, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Johnson told the Dispatch that some students have alerted the university that they no longer live in the address in question and if such an address change is confirmed, the suspension will be lifted.

In addition to the interim suspension, students cited for holding or attending large parties will likely be stripped of their access to the campus and removed from all but online classes. Students could also be removed from on-campus housing, if applicable, or face disciplinary probation while losing other privileges and benefits, the Dispatch report added.

Representational image of a woman wearing mask Photo from Pixabay (CC0)