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Penn State Police To Enforce State College Coronavirus Mitigation Ordinance

Penn State police officers will begin enforcing State College’s coronavirus mitigation ordinance at University Park, the university announced Wednesday.

Campus officers were sworn in by Centre County Judge Pamela Ruest on Wednesday, October 7, and given the power to uphold the ordinance on Penn State’s campus.

The ordinance, passed by the State College Borough Council in August, enforces mask-wearing and implements gathering limits throughout town. Penn State said it plans to use the ordinance specifically to enforce mask-wearing on campus and disperse any large crowds, including visitors.

The ordinance’s implementation at University Park won’t change Penn State’s current requirements and guidelines for students, faculty, and staff.

“We are very pleased with our campus community’s compliance with mask-wearing and social distancing practices — they’re having an important impact,” David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business, said. “The goal of this effort is to allow campus police officers, if needed, to uphold the ordinance, which has been successful in State College, in support of public health on our campus. This effort also will serve as a tool for individuals and groups visiting campus and for which the University has fewer means to enforce its requirements.”

Charles Noffsinger, the associate president for University Police and Public Safety, said the department’s goal is to continue working with the community to enforcee public health measures and limit the coronavirus’ spread.

“We want to create cohesion for those traveling to and from campus regarding requirements and expectations for safe behavior, and do not intend for this to interrupt the mechanisms already in place at the University for students and employees who may be in violation of requirements,” Noffsinger said in a statement.

Within the borough, violations are met with civil citations and $300 fines, plus any necessary court costs. Penn State students found in violation would also need to pay that same fine.

Since the ordinance’s enactment, State College police have issued 69 citations for policy violations.

As it stands, State College’s ordinance will last until January 31, 2021, or until the Centre Region Council of Governments and Pennsylvania Department of Health rescind their emergency declarations — whichever comes first.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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