“Pandemic + Parties = COVID Spread” is the title of a video released by Western Illinois University this past Friday.
The video, which stars Western Illinois University Interim President Martin Abraham, calls students out on their behavior over the course of the past week. With cases rising, the president’s statement has a disciplinary, severe tone to it. In his address to students, particularly those who have not been obeying university policies and procedures regarding COVID-19, President Abraham said, “This is about protecting others as much as it is about protecting yourself.”
In this clip, Abraham publicly hints at the possibility of the semester being cut even shorter than the already condensed Thanksgiving end date for the first time, saying, “We have become aware of large gatherings of students who are not making smart choices and they are also violating existing policies regarding alcohol and cannabis. If we are to have a successful semester, this cannot continue.” It is unclear whether or not the gatherings Abraham is referring to were held on campus or off.
He goes on to say, “Keep your distance. How can you keep your distance when you’re in large gatherings? You can’t, which is why they’re not allowed.” This may reference the recent outbreak at The Forum which happened to be synonymous with the outbreak occurring among Western Illinois University students.
“Take these policies and procedures seriously. They exist to protect our university community and others,” said Abraham. These policies and procedures have been posted online in conjunction with the “Protect the ‘Necks” training and pledge that were posted on Western Online for all students and student workers to complete. The training, which consists of 73 pages, is designed to “Raise safety awareness about COVID-19, provide the latest safety guidance and inform the campus community on guidelines, protocols and procedures implemented on campus to keep people safe.” As evidenced by the need to publish the video, it appears that President Abraham feels that students are not necessarily following all guidelines to the extent necessary to have a successful, on-campus semester.
Visit wiu.edu/coronavirus for information, policies, COVID-19 dashboard and more.