As we begin to actually get our footing in what is the fall semester, us students are all helplessly awaiting for the hammer to drop on what has been described to us as an “inevitably” with campus being closed due to COVID at some point. That’s right, in an email sent to the student body just 2 weeks ago, the President of the school brought to life this “inevitability” and un-inspiringly asked us to “prove them wrong”. The idea that we were going to have a full semester seems to have never actually been in the cards for school administrators. The double speak and lack of transparency has been blatant from the start.
This comes after voting to cancel the BigTen Football season that is still being fought to proceed by powerhouse programs and limiting gatherings to 15 people in private settings in Bloomington. The science on these decisions is not only flawed, but also seems to be either ignored or simply unexplained.
And this leads to the decision that IU dropped today after leaving a nice little bread trail for the past week. As a result of “a high number of positive tests” in Greek houses that have been put in quarantine, IU is recommending all Greek houses to close their doors and shut down for the semester. Now, this is just a recommendation as IU doesn’t own the houses and it is ultimately up to the Greek Housing Corporations to decide how they want to deal with the kids living in. But still, this is IU tipping its pitch to the student body in showing how they will respond to any uptick in cases as we proceed through the fall.
I reached out to Indiana University’s Inter-Fraternity Council President, Alex Schein, and here is what he had to say about this decision from the University:
“If the school thinks dispersing students who they say are spreading covid, then they will just see an increase in cases wherever these students go. The financial burden and stress alone that students will face as the school deems reevaluation necessary only proves this decision is not made with students in mind. Quite frankly I believe that this is more of a means of scapegoating the Greek community than a means to show that school thought everything through when deciding to bring students back to campus. Honestly, what did they expect?”
For reference, the entire Monroe County in Indiana had 3 COVID deaths based on the most recent data recorded. There have been no stories of students getting hospitalized as a result of the virus and if anything these “symptomatic cases” could simply be attributed to kids staying up till late hours of the night and living relatively unhealthy college kid lifestyles. Sorry, they’re college kids and that’s how it works. Pretending kids aren’t going to live their lives will not solve this problem of remaining open. We can ask everyone to be safe but have to be reasonable and realistic. And if you don’t let these students leave their houses, it’ll only get worse. Plus, getting sick in the first few weeks of adapting to a new environment/living situation is not unusual at all. As of right now there really doesn’t seem like there is anything to worry about. IU should take notes from the MLB and act how they dealt with their positive tests. Instead, they are requesting the houses to shut it down and essentially tell kids to go home.
There isn’t the “outbreak” that they are trying painting when a majority of the cases are mild and/or insignificant. It’s like they didn’t know that positive tests were going to happen. These kids will get better and we can then resume as scheduled. Also, shutting it down and sending kids home isn’t even what the CDC recommends. That will only spread the virus and potentially harm others. The average age of people living in a Greek house can be no more than 21 years old, and that’s generous.
Like I said, Indiana cannot themselves kick the kids out of their houses. But, apparently Monroe County Health Officials do have the authority to do that. If that happens, good luck with that law suit. I wouldn’t want to have to deal with those housing corporations and tenants who paid for their living for the fall being forced off the premises.
It’s just so typical that Greek students are going to be scapegoated for all this. There hasn’t been parties on campus, and just because they live in close quarters doesn’t mean that they should be portrayed as the ones ruining it for everyone else. Maybe the Greek kids are getting hit first, but the same is bound to happen through the dorms if that is the case. This narrative won’t explicitly be pushed like that by school officials, but there is already a huge anti-Greek movement on campus, so you can only imagine how easy that story to catch wind.
“Quite frankly I believe that this is more of a means of scapegoating the Greek community as a means to show that school thought everything through when deciding to bring students back to campus. Honestly, what did they expect?”Alex Schein, IFC President
It’s truly baffling that administrators are essentially telling these kids they want them to pack their bags. Largely, these kids have no where to go. They want to be on campus and by sending them home it only further increases risks of spreading and transmitting the virus. Top doctors are even saying that colleges should not send students home. Indiana seems uninterested in following the science, and this is becoming abundantly clear.
This is a big story and news channels are starting to pick up on it. It’s a blasphemous request by the University and they are truly playing mental gymnastics to distance themselves from any possible liabilities. I just hate that this comes with completely sacrificing the quality of their learning and college experience.
As of now, school officials say that we will continue to be open. But like I said a small outbreak in the Greek community has shown that they will cancel at the drop of the hat. It isn’t fair to us students that we are being kept completely in the dark. Apparently IU has “16-20 metrics” that they are keeping a constant eye on in which they refuse to make public. The whole situation is a disaster.
Hopefully they give students a chance to have a seat at the table.