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President Barron: ‘Reckless & Irresponsible’ Partying Is Hurting Community

Penn State President Eric Barron issued a statement Monday night condemning students’ large-scale apartment parties seen over the weekend.

The gatherings were specifically reported at three downtown apartment complexes — The Riste, HERE State College, and Penn Tower — and occurred on Saturday, October 24 ahead of Penn State football’s season opener. Police responded to each and dispersed them, prompting a larger discussion surrounding community safety and potential coronavirus spread.

“The reckless and irresponsible gatherings that occurred this weekend fly in the face of our efforts as a community to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus,” Barron said. “We will be working closely with the borough this weekend and throughout the rest of the football season to stop negligent behavior. I’m proud of the efforts of the majority of our students, and I am determined to hold accountable those who would jeopardize not just their own safety, but the safety of other students and of our broader community.”

Barron added the university plans to fully cooperate with a joint investigation between Penn State and State College police to identify individuals involved with the parties. Those identified through the investigation could be subjected to citations, fines, and disciplinary action.

According to their report, police found each gathering lacked proper social distancing and face masks, creating an increased risk for potential coronavirus spread. They found each location had more than 100 individuals gathered, which directly violates the borough’s coronavirus mitigation ordinance.

The police investigation already prompted some complexes to take steps to avoid out-of-control gatherings moving forward. Penn Tower closed its outdoor deck until further notice, while The Rise’s management said it’ll meet with borough officials to create plans for addressing these circumstances in the future.

“Keeping State College safe and Penn State University open will take a collective effort from everyone,” the borough said. “We thank everyone for your cooperation with this serious health and safety matter.”

Barron recommended all asymptomatic who live in the affected buildings, as well as those who merely attended the parties, get tested for the coronavirus. Students can schedule appointments through University Health Services or utilize walk-up testing at Pegula Ice Arena.

With Penn State’s home opener against Ohio State quickly approaching, Barron also reminded students tailgating won’t be permitted at Beaver Stadium or anywhere on campus.

Penn State is, however, organizing a “socially distanced football viewing event” for freshmen on Halloween. The university said more details about the event will be shared throughout the week.

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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 with distinction 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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