I want to wish all of you a happy belated Labor Day.
Apparently, one of the reasons why this year’s Labor Day was not celebrated by Indiana University was because IU felt that a long weekend could potentially persuade people to gather in large groups and spread COVID19. So really, this non day off was actually just an extension of the lockdowns that have been put in place to try and “slow the spread” of COVID19. The success of this initiative is complicated.
That’s because this is largely a two-pronged approach. On one hand, there has not been a widespread outbreak since we all returned to campus. It has been over a month now and to public knowledge not a single hospitalization or death by an IU student or employee due to the virus. Hopefully this remains the case. On the other hand, very strict social distancing and capacity limitations have been put in place and Bloomington is at risk of suffering economically. Kilroy’s On Kirkwood has been closed all summer. No college football will lead to a huge reduction in revenues. There have been extreme limitations on people’s right to assemble and a clear lack of transparency regarding the “science” that is guiding these decisions.
So, we know what has been going on for the past month is generally working as a way to control the virus. But, the school is still trying to lock us down even harder. They want Greek students to basically go home. These requests come with skewed testing and numbers that every student knows is a preposterous ask and will only make students more likely to disobey the rules. The fact that we are on a path towards having our semester cancelled even though the virus more likely than not won’t reach levels that warrant a shutdown is a disgrace. It would be easier to judge and comment on this data if the University made KPI’s publicly available and kept students updated with what is actually going on. But, no.
Instead, students are going to keep doing what they have been doing. Anyone who attended IU knows that in the fall Lake Monroe is a beautiful place to go and rent boats on the weekend. Often, groups of friends will rent multiple boats and anchor the boats close together to have a good time on the water. This has been happening since students returned to Bloomington. But a picture was taken this past weekend shows one of these boat days and now has students subject to sanctions. This was not an isolated incident and as we’ve seen there is no “outbreak” or “super spreader” label that has been attached to them.
This ties in 2 main stream stories that we have seen recently. That is the Lake of the Ozark’s gathering that made headlines during Memorial Day and the 11 Northeastern students that were dismissed from their fall program but didn’t get a 36.5k tuition refund this past week.
As we know, the Lake of the Ozark’s outcry was largely overblown. This wasn’t a “super spreader” event that we were led to believe. There is not really any evidence to suggest that Ozark’s party led to an outbreak of the virus. Yea, we should be safe in practicing social distancing but, again, an outbreak will most likely not be linked to this event. The virus is weird and it is hard to track to specific events. That’s just the reality of the situation. Living our lives in constant fear of it leads to much worse consequences. Remember when that NARC tweeted at Indiana to “get the contact tracers ready” because of a party in town? There has been no public evidence to suggest that there were cases linked to that party. Instead, we were just forced to lock down harder and this kid went private on social media. Coward.
And maybe this action worked, but then maybe it didn’t.
Most restaurants are still open to the levels that they are permitted, and like we have seen there isn’t any tracing to these places as spreaders for the virus. Why are we subject to University discipline when we are simply living our lives? If we are off campus then how can we still be subject to University jurisdiction to this far of an extent? The idea that you are going on these boats with absolute strangers is extremely unlikely. These are groups of friends spending a day on the lake. It’s a calculated risk that adults should have the liberty to make.
I don’t even know how a suspension that the people who get caught in large groups would even work. All our classes are basically online anyways. Could a suspension lead to failing a class because of tests/projects missed?
I’m not sure how it would work. But I imagine if anyone gets to this point there will be lawsuits filed. Those cases will be very interesting to follow.
Truthfully, I don’t think students will actually get suspended for these types of actions. I think that will lead to too much of an issue for the legal departments. Universities across the country have been playing with fire with these decisions and if they step too far then it may absolutely backfire on them. That’s why this Northeastern case will definitely be interesting to keep following. Students care about where their tuition dollars go, and if that gets taken away from them then people will fight back.
Again, all I ask for is transparency and students to have a seat at the table when these decisions are. This isn’t a time to act irrational. We need to use this crisis to come together and find a safe way to get back to normal safely. There are ways to do this without simply shutting it down. I hope we can find common ground.