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College Socialization Through Social Distancing: How Far is Too Far?

As millions of students head back to their beloved colleges, one of the main concerns is the varying range of how these universities police their students’ social lives. From being far too strict to not being strict enough, colleges around the nation are dealing with the issue of finding solid middle ground. Of course, students who break social distancing policies should be held responsible. But should they be harshly punished? Host David Grasso brought in Political and Media Strategist Ajay Bruno, and current student and host of Pensive Politics podcast Christian Watson to discuss.

From breaking social distancing rules to being expelled

The story that sparked this discussion was the Northeastern University expelling scandal. Eleven first-year students were caught in a downtown Boston hotel room that explicitly went against the school’s public health protocols. In response to this, Northeastern informed the students (and their parents) that they were no longer a part of their community for the rest of the Fall Semester. If that wasn’t harsh enough, they also would not be receiving a refund per guidelines of the N.U. International program. Watson argued that this was far too rough of a reaction on behalf of the university. Instead of punishing their students, they should educate them and make sure they can contain the possible spread of COVID-19 to their immediate area. Watson brought up a point that because of the N.U. reaction, they could potentially be spreading this disease across the world by sending these students back to their home countries. On the other hand, Bruno suggested that these students should be responsible enough to know that their selfish actions have real-life consequences.  If they didn’t want to face possible expulsion, they should not have risked their own lives and the lives of others for such a minuscule amount of socialization.

Where do universities go from here?

Grasso made a very compelling point that it is unrealistic to expect college students to not socialize with one another. Bruno recognized that it is a vital part of the college experience to socialize with peers. However, in today’s world, it needs to be done responsibly. These 11 students, according to Bruno, behaved selfishly. If students do socialize, they should adhere to their universities’ social distancing protocols. Disregarding them completely is not fair to their communities and to those who are actually following the newly established policies.

For more on schools and social distancing, check out this video.

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