University of Minnesota students speak out after videos show crowded bars, parties

Students are speaking out after photos and videos posted on social media over the weekend showed large parties and crowded bars near the University of Minnesota.

Sean Lim, a junior at the university, has several heart defects, so he was very concerned when he saw students – mostly without masks and not social distancing – lined up outside Sally’s bar over the weekend.

“I get out of breath easily, so I'm worried if I contract COVID from one of my classmates or someone on campus what that means for my health," said Lim.

A chemistry student also posted pictures on social media of what looks like a big party Saturday in the courtyard of the university’s Superblock, which houses four freshmen dorms. The post expressed concern that the university’s COVID-19 plan is failing miserably and warned professors and teaching assistants these students would be showing up for in-person classes on Monday.

"It annoys me, personally, because all of us would like to go out and be going to social events, but everyone should hold back. And it’s frustrating other people aren't doing the same thing," said sophomore Briana Beatty.

The university said it is aware of the gathering and that Housing and Residential Life staff dispersed the crowd, along with help from university police. The U of M also said it is reviewing any video of the event and will follow up with students it can identify if appropriate.

"It’s a little disappointing that people aren't going to be following the same guidelines to keep the school as safe as possible," said freshman Easton Hackett.

But, Lim said it’s up to students and the university’s administration to make sure the campus is safe from COVID-19.

"If gatherings are going to happen, the school needs to take preventative action or take action to make sure they don't happen again."

Full statement from the University of Minnesota:

We want to acknowledge that the majority of University of Minnesota students on the Twin Cities campus are following the Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan. COVID-19 is serious, and it’s important that each member of our campus community takes steps (including staying home when sick, physical distancing, mask wearing and personal hygiene) to protect others.

The University is aware of a gathering of students that occurred outside of the Superblock residence halls over the weekend. Housing and Residential Life staff dispersed the crowd with help from the University of Minnesota Police Department. The University is reviewing any existing video of the event and will follow up with identified students, as appropriate.
But to be clear, in many respects this is not at all unique compared to the opening weekends of a fall semester. Just as we would with any students who do not meet University expectations, students may be referred to the Office for Community Standards to address any violations of the Student Conduct Code. Students living on campus who violate conduct rules, including this year, the terms of the Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan, may also be referred to Housing & Residential Life staff.
Overall, the University takes an educational and development-focused approach to resolving violations of student conduct expectations. Our goal is to ensure students understand expected behaviors and why. We believe that by focusing on education and restorative justice, we can contribute to the education and development of our students, and ultimately generate more positive behavior than sanctions alone.

To assist other housing staff with the implementation of public health plans in residential facilities, all residence halls have staff on-site 24/7 to support sign-in and sign-out after the required “back home” time in the first three steps of the Maroon and Gold Sunrise Plan. If any members of the campus community or public observe behavior that is concerning, we encourage them to submit a report here.