Students Sue Miami University Over COVID-19 Suspension
Two students from Miami University in Ohio filed a federal lawsuit against the university this week claiming the institute relied on “wrong” information when it suspended them for violating the Miami Student Code of Conduct related to COVID-19.
The two students — identified as Jane Roe and Jane Doe — were caught partying off campus with eight other students on August 22. They were then suspended based on an Oxford police investigation.
According to the lawsuit, Miami University suspended Roe and Doe for the fall semester and will not allow them back on campus until January 1, 2021, because they violated the university’s code of conduct and their behavior may have placed students at risk of contracting the virus.
Countering the University’s Claims
Miami made headlines for off-campus gatherings while city schools tried hard to curb parties amid the pandemic.
The Oxford City Council passed an emergency mass gathering ordinance in August in response to concerns about coronavirus. The ordinance limits social events to a limit of 10 people.
At an administrative hearing, Roe said that she was, “not found responsible for hosting, planning, inviting, nor even being outside when the ‘mass gathering’ was occurring.” She further said she “only came outside pursuant to a request from an Oxford police officer to speak with a resident regarding noise.”
Doe echoed Roe’s comments in her appeal letter.
In her statement, Doe said that the timing of the incident is vital since the event took place during the first week of classes at the university when students were still being informed about the expectations of the university.
Roe and Doe both lost their appeals according to Miami records filed in the lawsuit.
Now, the two students are seeking damages “not less than $75,000,” an order requiring Miami to clear the students’ records related to the suspension, and an order allowing the students to return to college.
The university has not issued a public statement regarding the lawsuit.