290 JMU students notified of COVID-19 policy violations

290 JMU students notified of COVID-19 policy violations
James Madison University campus. (FILE) (Source: WHSV)

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Tuesday night, leaders of James Madison University gave an update to Harrisonburg City Council on their return plan for early October and students' behavior so far in the first part of the semester.

JMU Vice President of Student Affairs Tim Miller told the council he knows student behavior is a concern for many and said the Harrisonburg Police Department has reported fewer calls about off-campus gatherings this September than in previous years.

“We do have strong expectations for our student’s behavior, and as President Alger mentioned the vast majority of our students have listened,” Miller said. “But some have not, and I think it’s an important part of this.”

Miller said 290 students have been notified of violations this semester, and 45 of those students have already been found responsible for minor infractions. These include not wearing a mask repeatedly or not practicing physical distancing. Miller said the outcome for these cases has been from a restorative justice process to probation.

Five of those students are currently involved in an investigation for holding a large event with more than 10 people. Twenty-four students have had their on-campus housing exemption revoked for hosting events.

Earlier this month when JMU switched to virtual learning, students needed to file an exemption form in order to stay on campus. Reasons could include a student living out of state or having a susceptible family member at home.

"Twenty-four of those students did the exact opposite of what we wanted them to do,″ Miller said. " So we’ve actually rescinded their exemption and they’ve had to go home."

The students who have hosted large events could face suspension or expulsion for endangering the community with those large events.

More information on those cases will be presented to City Council in the coming weeks.

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