September 15, 2020
Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, firstname.lastname@example.org
COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri officials announced today that two students have been expelled and three students were suspended for willful and knowing actions that threatened the safety of the campus and the broader Columbia community.
The sanctions followed flagrant violations of the university’s rules and regulations related to the pandemic, including requirements that COVID positive individuals isolate and comply with social distancing requirements.
“From the beginning, we have stressed the importance of taking a vigorous approach to educate our students and enforcing our COVID policies and regulations,” said Mun Choi, UM System president and MU chancellor. “These policies and regulations were designed to keep our students, faculty, staff and the community healthy and safe. We have seen a strong adoption of our policies and regulations. Unfortunately, a few students have violated these policies and violated the trust of their fellow community members.
“We have educated our community about our expectations. When we see those who willfully violate those expectations, we will take disciplinary action — up to expulsion. It is unfortunate that we had to take these actions, but we felt it was necessary. These students willfully put others at risk, and that is never acceptable. We will not let the actions of a few take away the opportunity for in-person learning that more than 8,000 faculty and staff have worked so hard to accomplish for the more than 30,000 MU students. We owe it to everyone at MU and the Columbia community to adhere to the COVID policies and regulations and provide appropriate sanctions to those who violate them.”
Additionally, 11 student organizations are currently under investigation for violations of the university’s policies related to COVID. As of Sept. 11, approximately 470 student cases have been referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Accountability for possible violations of MU policies related to COVID since Aug. 16.
For the past several days, MU has experienced a decrease in its active case load. The active case load has dropped by 51% over the past 10 days, from 683 cases on Saturday, Sept. 5, to 332 cases on Monday, Sept. 14. Officials continue to meet and take actions with the goal in mind of reducing the spread. The latest actions include the prohibition on tailgating announced by MU Athletics recently.
“We need everyone’s help to beat this virus,” said Bill Stackman, vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “We continue to ask for and identify solutions to help our campus community make meaningful connections and develop a sense of belonging. This is a difficult time for all of us, but we all must act responsibly for the safety of our entire community.”
Typically, the university does not release disciplinary action against individual students or employees and will not identify the students who have been disciplined. Given the seriousness of these offenses and implications for public health, university officials have decided to release this information.