Whitewater saw “a number of large gatherings” last weekend, prompting a top UW-Whitewater official to plead with students to follow coronavirus safety protocols.
Artanya Wesley, vice chancellor for student affairs, in a video announcement shared Tuesday said those gatherings were “hosted and attended by students.”
“This has caused great concern for the health and safety of the campus and greater Whitewater community,” she said. “We understand everyone is excited about springtime, warmer weather and hanging out with friends. We all have to remember we are still in the middle of a pandemic.”
Last weekend’s spring-like weather was followed by snow early this week. The higher temperatures combined with encouraging news about vaccine distribution have spurred health officials to caution the public against easing up on virus prevention steps too soon.
Wesley’s announcement did not mention specific gatherings or violations. She said the UW-Whitewater Dean of Students Office will keep working with university and city police “regarding on- and off-campus citations given to students.”
UW-Whitewater Police Chief Matt Kiederlen said Tuesday his department did not issue any citations over the weekend. He said the gatherings were in the city’s jurisdiction.
Whitewater Police Chief Aaron Raap said Tuesday police did not issue citations for gatherings that violated coronavirus safety protocols, either.
He said the city’s mask ordinance is the only ordinance police are responsible for enforcing, and “to date, no citations have been issued.”
In her announcement, Wesley said cases referred to the Dean of Students Office are reviewed, and “the outcome of that review has the potential to impact your status as a student at the university.”
She urged students to continue to wear masks, stay socially distanced, avoid large groups and get tested for COVID-19.
“We need your commitment to see the spring semester through until the end,” she said. “If we want to remain on campus and continue with in-person classes and activities, everyone must be responsible and hold each other accountable.
“Remember, Warhawks, we are in this together.”