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'Flagrant violations' | Mizzou students expelled, suspended for not following COVID-19 policies

The university is also investigating 11 student organizations for violations of the university’s policies related to the pandemic

COLUMBIA, Missouri — Mizzou has expelled two students and suspended three others for violating the rules regarding COVID-19, the university announced Tuesday.

The university did not identify the students but called their actions “flagrant violations” that threatened the safety of the campus and surrounding community. The students failed to comply with requirements that include not isolating if they have tested positive or following social distancing measures.

Mizzou is also investigating 11 student organizations for violations of the university’s policies related to COVID-19, the release said. As of Sept. 11, approximately 470 student cases have been referred to the university's Office of Student Conduct and Accountability for possible violations of policies related to COVID-19.

“From the beginning, we have stressed the importance of taking a vigorous approach to educate our students and enforcing our COVID policies and regulations,” said Mun Choi, UM System president and MU chancellor in a press release. “These policies and regulations were designed to keep our students, faculty, staff and the community healthy and safe. We have seen a strong adoption of our policies and regulations. Unfortunately, a few students have violated these policies and violated the trust of their fellow community members.

RELATED: Mizzou enacts stricter face covering requirements

This month, the university enacted a new face covering mandate, requiring students and staff to wear them on campus – even when they are outdoors. Mizzou also banned tailgating.

“We have educated our community about our expectations,” Choi said. “When we see those who willfully violate those expectations, we will take disciplinary action — up to expulsion. It is unfortunate that we had to take these actions, but we felt it was necessary. These students willfully put others at risk, and that is never acceptable. 

"We will not let the actions of a few take away the opportunity for in-person learning that more than 8,000 faculty and staff have worked so hard to accomplish for the more than 30,000 MU students. We owe it to everyone at MU and the Columbia community to adhere to the COVID policies and regulations and provide appropriate sanctions to those who violate them.”

The university said it typically does not release disciplinary action against individual students or employees. However, it made an exception “given the seriousness of these offenses and implications for public health.”

RELATED: Missouri professor 'relieved of teaching duties' over comment to student from Wuhan