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Coronavirus rules lead Northeastern University to dismiss 11 students over a gathering

The first-year students were dismissed "after they were discovered together in a room at the Westin Hotel in Boston on Wednesday night," the university said.
Image:  Northeastern University campus
Students walk on the Northeastern University campus in Boston on Jan. 31, 2019.Rodrique Ngowi / AP file

Northeastern University said it has dismissed 11 first-year students who gathered in a hotel room "in violation of university and public health protocols that prohibit crowded gatherings."

The students are among about 800 in a study-abroad program who are currently staying in two-person rooms at a Westin Hotel in Boston, according to a university statement Friday.

After the gathering of the 11 in a hotel room was discovered by university staff members making rounds Wednesday night, the students were informed that they are no longer enrolled for the fall semester. They have the right to contest their dismissal at a hearing, the statement said.

"Those people who do not follow the guidelines — including wearing masks, avoiding parties and other gatherings, practicing healthy distancing, washing your hands, and getting tested — are putting everyone else at risk," Madeleine Estabrook,senior vice chancellor for student affairs, said in the statement. "Cooperation and compliance with public health guidelines is absolutely essential."

The Westin is one of several Boston hotels being used to house students at local colleges and universities during the pandemic, NBC Boston reported.

The dismissed Northeastern students were asked to vacate the hotel and are required to undergo coronavirus testing at the university before departing. Anyone who tests positive will be moved into wellness housing at the school until they recover.

Payments by the students will not be refundable, in accordance with guidelines of the study-abroad program, the university said.

Northeastern threatened a few weeks ago to expel any students not following COVID-19 guidelines after an Instagram poll asked incoming students whether they planned to party when they arrived on campus.

Official letters sent to 115 students threatened to rescind their admission if they didn't send a reply acknowledging that they would comply with the school's code of conduct, NBC Boston reported.