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University of Alabama forbids students gatherings

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — The University of Alabama has issued a prohibition on student gatherings, including off-campus parties and fraternity and sorority events, as the school tries to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The university on Friday announced a 14-day moratorium on all in-person student events outside of classroom instruction.

Social gatherings are prohibited both on and off campus and the common areas of dormitories and fraternity and sorority houses are closed, according to the new guidelines. Visitors are not being allowed in dormitories and sorority and fraternity houses.

The announcement came less than a week after city and school officials raised alarm about large crowds waiting outside bars.

“Although we are proud and appreciative of all of you who are wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and showing respect to your fellow students, the actions of a few are jeopardizing the health and safety of our entire campus community,” Myron Pope, vice president for student life, wrote in a message to students announcing the new restrictions.

“These behaviors are hindering our ability to continue the in-person experience this fall and the Capstone traditions we cherish,” Pope wrote.

The university said the hosts of gatherings will receive heightened consequences, even for a first offense, and that serious and repeated violations could result in suspension by the university.

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“While we are appreciative to those who have taken these expectations seriously, I am deeply disappointed that those guidelines are not being followed by each and every member of our student body,” University of Alabama President Stuart Bell wrote in a message to students.

Images of large crowds drew the ire and concern of city and campus officials last weekend.

University of Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne tweeted a photo that showed dozens of people, many not wearing face masks or staying away from others, waiting to get into a popular bar in Tuscaloosa on the day sororities accepted new members.

“Who wants college sports this fall?? Obviously not these people!! We’ve got to do better than this for each other and our campus community. Please wear your masks!” Byrne said in a tweet last Sunday.

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