Gathering of around 100 students reported on campus but no students identified

University official says action will be taken moving forward

Isabella Gentile, Editor-in-Chief

Just three days after phased first-year student move-in began, a gathering of approximately 100 students occurred on the Bristol campus, according to an incident report from the university’s Public Safety Department.

According to the report, Bayside RAs reported a party on the shell path just before 10 p.m. on August 19. Two public safety officers responded to the scene. The report narrative said there was minimal to no social distancing and some students were wearing masks while others were not. When the officers arrived, students began to scatter in different directions, according to the report. Director of Public Safety Steve Melaragno said the officers did not get any students’ names at the scene.

Vice President for Student Life John King said they didn’t identify individuals or document in this specific situation. However, he said this will be done moving forward.

“We will be starting to identify students,” King said. “Even if we only get 10 out of a large group, we’re going to identify them and they’re going to go through the conduct system unfortunately.”

Different consequences could apply to students who do not follow university and state policies. King said students are going to get fined if the university needs to bring Bristol Police in. If the same students are involved in repetitive issues, such as not being compliant with wearing masks or social gathering limits, King said they will likely lose residency or they could be dismissed from the university.

As part of first-year student orientation on Saturday, Aug. 21, King said he and President Miaoulis met with the class of 2024, with 765 of those students attending the Zoom webinar. He said they talked about the state limit on social gatherings, the university’s expectations and consequences and fines that the state will levy if Bristol Police respond to a gathering of that nature.

“It is exactly the type of behavior and gathering that will cause problems for both the university and the town and it’s exactly what the governor wants to prohibit,” King said.

As of Aug. 25, King said he has seen an uptick in mask compliance since the Aug. 19 incident and said there have not been significant large groups that the university has had to disrupt.

“We understand completely that students want to be together, they want to socialize and feel that sense of camaraderie,” King said. “We just are not in a position right now in the pandemic where we can allow that. In fact, we have to prohibit that to protect public health and safety.”

The shell path on campus typically serves
as a location for students to hang out by the water. A large gathering occurred there
on Aug. 19.