JSU suspends in-person student organization events for two weeks

Scott Young, Editor in Chief

Jacksonville State University announced on Wednesday that all in-person student organization events are suspended for two weeks due to COVID-19 concerns.

“Any in-person activity or event sponsored or endorsed by an organization, including those that occur on or off campus, is prohibited until September 9, 2020,” said Joshua Robinson, JSU’s associate dean of students, in an email. “Any organization that allegedly violates this directive will be referred to the Director of Community Standards and Student Ethics for disciplinary review.”

Robinson said that the decision was made “in response to recent trends.” Asked if the “recent trends” were referring to a rise in JSU COVID-19 cases, Robinson said that “COVID-19 related questions should be directed to Dr. Jeff Ryan,” the university’s COVID-19 task force head.

Efforts to reach Dr. Jeff Ryan for a comment were unsuccessful at the time of publication.

As of Wednesday evening, the university is reporting 129 active cases of COVID-19 being monitored by its task force.

“The University will review the pause prior to September 9, 2020 to determine if an extension is needed,” said Robinson.

The decision comes just one day after an email was sent to students from Terry Casey, the vice president for student affairs, urging student organization leaders to “take a proactive approach to reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.”

“However, we cannot continue to allow in-person student organization events or meetings if our groups are not 100% committed to safe behavior on or off campus,” said Casey. “If we continue to get reports of organizations not abiding by policies or procedures, we will be forced to halt all in-person student organization events and meetings.”

UPDATE (8/26/20, 9:02 p.m.): The university on Wednesday morning initially reported 112 active cases. Later that same evening, that number rose to 129 active cases. The story now reflects the Wednesday evening number.

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