At least 11 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus after attending or being linked to a “reckless” party at the University of New Hampshire’s Theta Chi fraternity at the end of August, officials announced.
UNH President James W. Dean Jr. said that, as of Sunday, 11 cases had been traced to the Theta Chi frat party on Aug. 29, which was attended by more than 100 people – students and non-students – who were “not wearing masks,” he said.
“Let me be clear: this is reckless behavior and the kind of behavior that undermines our planning and will lead to us switching to a fully remote mode,” he wrote in a public letter to the Durham-based university’s community.
“We have repeatedly asked all members of our community to practice and adhere to public health guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID (mask wearing, social distancing, no large gatherings, etc) and I’ve been pleased that the overwhelming majority of you are following these guidelines,” Dean’s message continues.
A spokesperson for Theta Chi’s international headquarters told Fox News the fraternity’s staff members are investigating the allegations and will respond appropriately.
As of Tuesday morning, the state of New Hampshire reported 7,476 COVID-19 cases, with 426 in Strafford County, where the UNH campus is located, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Theta Chi’s UNH chapter also came under fire from those who appear to be university students, who expressed their outrage in the comment section of the fraternity’s most recent Instagram post from earlier this month, which was posted just days after the alleged party.
“I am here at UNH because I actually care about my studies and my future career. You could potentially ruin my second to last semester because you don’t give two shits about the rest of the student body. If we go home, you are part of the reason,” one person wrote in a comment on the post.
Another wrote, “Do better- partying isn’t worth putting the rest of the college at risk.”
Dean called the party “reprehensible” and said it “will not be tolerated.” UNH has since opened an investigation with the Interfraternity Council into Theta Chi and is “pursuing student conduct charges against the organizers and all students who attended the event,” Dean wrote.
The fraternity has been placed on interim suspension. UNH officials and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services asked that anyone who attended the party immediately quarantine and contact UNH Health and Wellness at (603) 862-9355.