The University of Oregon (UO) issued a statement this week condemning large backyard parties held by hundreds of UO students to celebrate the school’s annual spring football game.
Lane County, where the university is located, was categorized as an “extreme risk” zone last week. State-imposed restrictions have been placed on local businesses; even social gatherings are off-limits. As a result, fans were not allowed inside the Ducks football game at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene. However, that did not stop UO students from gathering.
Instead, students crowded at private homes off campus where they partied shoulder-to-shoulder, without masks. Some residents reported loud music and called the Eugene Police Department to disperse the partygoers, according to The Register-Guard.
UO student Joseph Hill, who tweeted pictures from the party, said there had been another party at the same address a few nights before.
COVID-19 should have a fun time with this.
(This is at my next-door neighbors’ place.) pic.twitter.com/dw7pfVt0iX
— Mojo Hill (@mojohill22) May 1, 2021
A number of students, professors, and alumni expressed disappointment at the gathering.
“There’s also been a lot of students saying they’re disappointed in their peers. There’s some people even being really dramatic and saying, ‘If you’re in the photo I will not be friends with you,’ and stuff like that,” Hill said.
Some even expressed doubts about the veracity of the photos, saying they were taken before COVID.
The university has condemned the behavior but said there was little it could do about private parties. “The UO is limited in the actions it can take with individuals who live in private homes. However, the office of student conduct and community standards is investigating complaints involving this photo, and will take any necessary appropriate actions,” the school stated.