SUNY college campuses all had to submit plans for re-opening to the state.
However, each school has variances in policy when it comes to COVID-19 testing, communication with students on number of cases, and enforcement of safety protocols.
Ciara Haag, a student at the University at Albany, says she sees students breaking these social distancing rules all the time.
“They’re out on the street with no masks on, you can hear the music until 3 a.m., nothing has changed,” Haag explained. “My neighbors have been partying every night since I’ve gotten here. You would be surprised how little people care.”
UAlbany does have a strict no tolerance policy in their code of conduct when it comes to social distancing protocols. Students found to be breaking these rules could face suspension and four students from the campus were temporarily suspended last week. The university also says they are not allowed to release any information on current investigations into students potentially breaking campus policies, but officials say they are following up on multiple reports.
Yet, Haag says that students she knows do not fear any sort of retaliation from the school. Haag says she also has contacted local and campus police to try and break up parties, with zero success.
“There were three police cars on our block and they were just kind of sitting there while they were four parties on my block, not intervening at all,” Haag explained. “They were just kind of there to patrol everyone else.”
Ryan Law, who is the PBA president of SUNY University Police and a university police officer at SUNY New Paltz, says that for the most part he has seen compliance with safety protocols on campus. However, he says the variances in COVID-19 policies across the SUNY system have been challenging when it comes to enforcement.
“I believe they’re all trying their best to take the position to provide the safety measures for each individual campus, but centralization really is a big talking point for us right now because this fixes a lot of the problems with COVID,” Law explained.
Law says they do work with local law enforcement when it comes to off-campus parties, but they run in to some difficulties when it comes to knocking on doors of houses that are just breaking social distancing guidelines. In the end enforcement is really up to the school.
“We will work hand-in-hand with them in handling that call or that scenario,” Law says about SUNY University Police working with local police departments. “As far as enforcing it that is where we run into some difficulties. We can advise, we can educate and respond the best way we possibly can
With the new appointment of Jim Malatras to SUNY chancellor, Law says he is hopeful Malatras will bring more uniformity when it comes to COVID-19 policies across the SUNY system.