PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Eight Pitt students are currently restricted from campus and university facilities for not following coronavirus guidelines.
A spokesman says eight students are on interim persona non grata status, which isn’t a suspension. The students can still take classes online.
When asked if the students need to move or find alternative off-campus housing if they currently live on campus, a university spokesman said he can’t discuss details of open conduct cases.
It’s unclear if the eight students restricted are affiliated with Greek life of the nine Greek chapters — five sororities and four fraternities — currently facing interim suspension.
While many Pitt students may be happy to have returned to Oakland, not everyone is glad to see them. The right to party has been been a push and pull between residents and off-campus Pitt students for generations.
“If you happen to be unfortunate enough to live next to a party house, you’re going to find them going all over your yard, sitting on their front stoop going on all night. It was to the point that it was just aggravation but now it’s to the point that it actually could be deadly,” said Oakland resident Marshall Goodwin.
In this time of COVID, Pitt has tried to take a stern tone with students to keep safe practices, but some longtime residents like Goodwin say this a letter from Vice Chancellor Paul Supowitz to Oakland’s landlords actually green lights off-campus student parties.
It reads in part: “Students are expected to avoid gathering in large groups or hosting gatherings or parties greater than 25 persons while the University is at an elevated risk or 10 if the University moves to a high-risk posture.”
“They’ve bought people all over the country into Oakland and they’re saying, ‘go ahead and have a party, just try to keep it quiet,’” said Goodwin.
But in a statement, Pitt says not so. While Supowitz’s letter acknowledges that landlords have only limited ability to monitor their student tenants, the university is doing all it can.
“The letter to landlords, property owners and management companies clarified that the University’s policies aligned with those of Allegheny County… The University in no way encourages student gatherings and continues to reinforce safer alternatives for students to remain socially engaged but physically distant,” a statement from the university reads.
On the first day of classes last week, university leaders made it clear that actions have consequences. Their warning came after numerous reports of large parties at the university.
The university said if a student is found violating the University’s Code of Conduct Health and Safety, there will be penalties. For example, if a student hosts a large party, the punishment is disciplinary suspension for the rest of the semester. If a student living in a dorm attends a large party, they would be suspended from housing for the semester.