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BU dean warns students who host or attend large parties will be suspended this semester

Marsh Plaza on Boston University's Campus.Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe

A Boston University official on Wednesday warned that students who host or attend parties of more than 25 people this fall will be suspended for the remainder of the semester as the school tries to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

The warning came in a letter, sent to BU students and posted to the university’s website, from Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore, who also serves as associate provost.

“There will be a few students who won’t take COVID-19 seriously and their stay in our community will be short-lived – if you host or attend a large off-campus or on-campus gathering, social or party, you will be suspended from Boston University,” Elmore wrote, adding that exceptions will be made for university-sanctioned events that fall under the school’s new events policy.


“If you host a large (more than 25 people) gathering, social or party off campus or on-campus, you will be suspended through the fall semester, and will not be able to attend classes in-person or remotely,” Elmore wrote. “If you attend a large (more than 25 people) gathering, social or party off campus or on campus, you will be suspended through the fall semester, and will not be able to attend classes in-person or remotely.”

Similar warnings apply to student organizations.

“If your student organization, club sport, or team hosts a large (more than 25 people) gathering, social, party or event, the organization will be suspended and University recognition withdrawn, at minimum, throughout the fall semester,” Elmore wrote.

He said students living on campus who violate the guidelines will have to vacate their residences immediately and won’t be allowed to live on campus for the remainder of the academic year.

“If you are suspended for the semester, you will not receive a tuition or, if applicable, room and board refund,” Elmore wrote.


The dean also urged BU community members to call out bad behavior.

“If you observe someone you believe is a member of the Boston University community not wearing a face covering, face mask, or respecting physical distancing, say something!” Elmore wrote. Ask them to pull up the face covering or mask or to give a little more space. I find that a reminder from someone within the community is a good enough nudge for me to do the right thing.”

In addition, Elmore wrote that BU community members can report “observed or upcoming large gatherings” or other violations of health protocols via an online form or by calling a 24-hour hotline at 617-353-5050.

“Like you, I’ve been cooped up and, sometimes, felt alone,” Elmore wrote. “That’s why I am excited to get reacquainted with my peoples – especially since they are close and not always on a screen. However, in seeing my friends, I’ve incorporated a lot more planning in my socializing to be more thoughtful, less hapless and more diligent about thinking about others. Our actions have consequences."

Elmore said he hopes he doesn’t have to suspend anyone.

“I know if we all work together, and remain committed to our goal of maintaining a healthy living and learning environment, we can and we will do this,” wrote Elmore, who signed off on his note with the phrase, “Fondly.”

The dean’s directive comes after Northeastern University recently put out a similar warning to some incoming freshmen.


Northeastern on Friday sent e-mails to 115 freshmen — and their parents — warning them against partying. The messages were sent to students who responded to a poll posted on social media by another student that asked if kids planned to party when they got to campus.

“It has been brought to our attention that on a social media platform you have indicated an intent to gather in large groups and engage in parties while disrespecting numerous government and university restrictions,” the Northeastern letter began.

Northeastern is one of several large colleges in Greater Boston, along with Boston College, BU, and Tufts University, that has begun to bring students back to campus for the fall semester, which will be taught partially online and partially in person.

Students who do not comply with the terms outlined in the letter will have their admissions rescinded, the letter said.

Laura Krantz of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.

Travis Andersen can be reached at