The University of Missouri has expelled two students and suspended three for "willful and knowing actions" that violated the school's coronavirus rules, threatening campus safety, according to an official.
Bill Stackman, the university's vice chancellor for student affairs, said in a letter to students and staff Tuesday that his office has been notified of parties and "other blatant violations" of coronavirus safety guidelines. University officials are investigating 11 student organizations for violating the school's policies.
"Let me be clear: The university will not hesitate to hold those flouting the rules accountable," Stackman said in the letter. He warned additional investigations are pending that he expects "will result in similar outcomes."
According to the university's reopening plan, students are barred from hosting gatherings with more than 20 attendees, even off campus. The school has received roughly 470 citations, spokesman Christian Basi said. He couldn't disclose further details on the expelled and suspended students.
"Failure to meet these expectations — particularly the ban on large social gatherings — is one cause for the continued spread of COVID-19 in our community," Stackman said.
The university has reported 1,347 cases since it began tracking them in mid-August, according to the its Covid-19 dashboard. Students are required to self report their positive test results to the university within hours of their diagnosis.
Cases have climbed in Boone County, where the school is located, since late August, totaling more than 3,900 cases as of Tuesday. Nearly 35% of those are people between the ages 20 and 24, according to county data.
The University of Missouri is not the only institution enacting strict measures against its students for violating Covid-19 policies.
Northeastern University said in early September that it dismissed 11 first-year students who gathered in a hotel room and were found in violation of the health protocols, NBC reported. Other universities, including the University of Tennessee, Tulane University and Indiana University, have threatened to expel students if they fail to comply with health directives.
Some universities and colleges have pointed to Greek life communities as contributing to climbing Covid-19 cases, forcing the organizations to cancel events or requesting that students consider moving out of the Greek houses.