Santa Clara University (SCU) is warning students that violating Santa Clara County’s public health order could lead dire consequences, including suspension from school.
In a letter to students on Jan. 27, Vice Provost for Student Life Jeanne Rosenberger said, “Students who are found to be responsible for hosting events on or off campus, participating in social gatherings in violation of the county order (Gatherings that include more than 3 households are prohibited — this includes everyone present, including hosts and guests), or failing to abide by recommended isolation and quarantine recommendations are subject to a fine of $500 and suspension from the University. A student on suspension is not eligible to be enrolled at the University for a specified period of time.”
Rosenberger issued the letter after Santa Clara police officers responded to a large gathering involving SCU students. The campus newspaper, The Santa Clara, reports the Jan. 23 party was a rush event at the California Phi fraternity house on Bellomy Street. According to the police blotter, there were “approximately 100 individuals outside the residence.”
In her letter, Rosenberger said the Office of Student Life received “…numerous complaints from the large gatherings this past weekend and [is] actively following up on each report.”
According to the Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) police blotter, there was also an incident on Jan. 22 on the 500 block of Washington St. Officers report when they arrived on scene, there were more than 100 people in the backyard.
Students who violate the county’s health orders not only face punishment from the University, but are also subject to City of Santa Clara fines. According to the City’s municipal code, the fine for a first-time violation is $150. Multiple violations within the span of a year can result in fines up to $900 for the fourth offense.
Both SCU and SCPD are encouraging people to report gatherings that may not comply with county health regulations.
“The Santa Clara Police Department encourages our community members to report noise disturbances and parties,” said SCPD Public Information Officer Cuong Phan.
While SCU is currently conducting its winter quarter, students are not officially back on campus. In January, SCU scrapped plans to allow students to live on campus for the winter quarter, though it is still providing emergency housing to students who need it. The University currently provides regular, weekly COVID-19 testing for students who live in off-campus housing.
Provided that the county’s health orders are relaxed in time, the University hopes to bring students back to campus in March in time for the start of the spring quarter.