Columbia University temporarily barred 70 students from campus after they had violated the university’s strict travel policy. The MBA students traveled to Turks and Caicos according to Columbia University spokesman Christopher Cashman but he did not disclose when the trip took place.
The travel violation blatantly ignored the Columbia Community Health Compact signed by students, faculty, and staff members with access to the university campus. As stated in the compact, most domestic and international Columbia-related travel is suspended and group gatherings are banned.
“The Turks & Caicos trip was a group event that violated this policy and thus was met with disciplinary action,” Cashman said.
The students will not be allowed back on campus until December 1, 2020. All their academic obligations must be met virtually and should they violate the policy a second time, a harsher punishment will be issued.
“All of this is being done to protect the broader health of our community and, thankfully, to date, our positive case rate remains low,” Cashman told CNN.
COVID and Holiday Season
There are now 2.7 million new COVID-19 infections in the US since November and more than 250,000 Americans have died from the virus as of Saturday. Colleges and universities have become infection hotspots so safety protocols must be enforced to lessen the risk of virus transmission.
Facing a more serious and widespread resurgence of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have posted official guidelines for safe celebrations and advised everyone to avoid traveling during the holidays.
However, with Thanksgiving and winter break approaching, Columbia University implores students authorized for travel to abide by the Community Health Compact. Any violations will cause students to lose their campus access and be removed from Columbia housing among other consequences.