Help Repeal The Suspension of 5 St. John Fisher College Students

Help Repeal The Suspension of 5 St. John Fisher College Students

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Help Repeal The Suspension of 5 St. John Fisher College Students started this petition to St. John Fisher College

There are 5 college students from St. John Fisher College who are facing the punishment of a semester of suspension for having a small gathering that turned into a larger gathering than anticipated. Their original plan was to invite a few of their teammates over, who all had tested negative for COVID prior to the gathering. Knowing the risk of COVID, they wanted to keep the gathering strictly football players, since these athletes were being tested three times every week. As they started to show up they brought other people over and it quickly turned into a chaotic disaster. The students tried to control the amount of people who were in their house off campus, however they were unsuccessful. They had no control over the random people who showed up. It is going to be their senior year at Fisher and instead of being able to graduate from the school that they have been dedicated and loyal to for the past three years, they may be forced to complete their senior year at another college and graduate without their friends. In addition to this, many colleges have requirements in place stating that in order for students to graduate from their school, they must have completed their last 60 credits at that school. This being said, being their senior year of college, if these students were to transfer schools, this would require them to complete at least two more years of school at another college in order to graduate.


The students did not do anything out of the ordinary, they had a gathering at their house as normal college students would and have done in previous years. They live in an off campus house and held the gathering on their own property that St. John Fisher College has no jurisdiction over. The only reason that this is viewed as problematic by the college is because it posed a potential risk of a COVID outbreak. So, in other words, if this occurred any other year, the school would most likely have never even found out about it nor would they have done anything about it if they did. Additionally, the individuals intended to be there were COVID negative as of 1 day before, meaning that the few positive COVID covid cases that resulted from this event came from someone who was not intended to be there. This event is only of concern due to the COVID guidelines that had since been lifted just a few weeks after the event. Therefore under current COVID guidelines, the event is no longer considered a violation.


There have been much worse offenses that have taken place at Fisher involving racial discrimination that have received the punishment of suspension, or less of a punishment such as probation. The offense of hosting a large gathering does not compare whatsoever to an offense of that degree, yet that is how the college wishes to proceed with treating it. 


In the Fall 2020 Semester, St. John Fisher College sent all students home due to a COVID outbreak that occurred in October. The college alleges that this outbreak occurred from students who attended off-campus gatherings where they did not socially distance themselves. Yet, no students were suspended nor punished in any way for contributing to the shutdown of the college. If no action was taken then during that event, it does not make sense why the college wishes to take action now during this event. 


The guidelines of masking, curfews, and capacity restrictions are beginning to be lifted now with the increasing number of individuals who are getting vaccinated. A good amount of individuals who attended that gathering were vaccinated, and students were getting tested weekly while athletes were getting tested 3x a week, so the risk of an outbreak was significantly low. It seems preposterous for the college to punish these students to this degree when no crimes were committed and the state/local government was not involved. It also does not seem fair to suspend these five students because the event took place on their property when every individual who showed up to their residence did so at their own discretion. Each individual who made the decision to attend the event contributed to the violation of previous guidelines so it is just as much the fault of those who attended the event as those who live at the residence where it occurred. Therefore, it does not seem appropriate to punish these five students with a suspension while every other contributor is either let off with probation or no punishment at all. It would be fair to issue the same punishment to all individuals involved. 


It seems somewhat contradicting that St. John Fisher College was allowing nursing students to attend clinical in hospitals and care for COVID+ patients. The risk of infecting nursing students and potentially spreading the virus to other members of the campus community was not viewed as problematic and was permitted. It does not make sense to punish these five students for being the cause of a potential outbreak when they encouraged numerous nursing students to also be the cause of a potential outbreak as well. So if you are going to punish these five students for increasing the potential risk of bringing COVID to campus, you might as well punish all nursing students as well for committing the same offense.


It has been a stressful time for everyone and we did not get a break this semester because we were not allowed a Spring Break or an Easter Break like we normally get every year. Everyone’s mental health was at an all time low, so you cannot blame them for wanting to be around their friends the last weekend of the semester to celebrate their hard work. It would be devastating for these students to have to transfer schools and leave our Fisher Family.

 

 

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