Great Britain

Parents rage at university after three students were suspended for attending party without masks

The parents of three Massachusetts college students suspended for attending a party without masks are preparing to sue.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst forced the three unidentified women off-campus in March — and then suspended them — for an Instagram photo showing them without face coverings at an off-campus party.

As reported by WCVB TV, the three parents are filing a class action lawsuit against the university for suspending the women, after all three appeals failed.

The three parents — who are also unidentified — allege in recent interviews that the university refused to refund $16,000 (£11,311) in tuition fees, in addition to forcing the three women off campus before the end of the semester.

“These beautiful young ladies who are honours students have had a full academic year stripped away and their paths broken of their higher education for alleged Covid violations,” a parent told WCVB TV.

The parents point to a parade for the university’s men’s ice hockey team in April — allegedly in contravention of Covid rules for students and staff.

In February, the university said the students were warned of Covid rules on and off campus, and that students were warned of suspension for any violations, in a statement to The Washington Post.

“Expectations regarding students’ responsibility to follow public health protocols, and the consequences for failing to do so, were clearly communicated to students before and throughout the spring semester,” said the university, “and students were updated regularly as conditions changed”.

In one weekend in March, more than 10 students were suspended for attending parties, the university added. It followed bans on social gatherings for students after a winter spike in Covid cases.

The Independent has approached The University of Massachusetts Amherst for comment.

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