A North Carolina university wants to know about big parties, and it reached out to nearby apartment complexes for help.
The University of North Carolina Wilmington contacted 25 off-campus properties and asked them to report students who hold or attend large gatherings, according to a letter provided to McClatchy News.
Under Phase Two of N.C. Gov. Cooper’s plan to reopen the state, indoor gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. Groups of up to 25 can meet outside.
“If it is reported to UNCW that any student violates these provisions, the student(s) may be processed for violating the Code of Student Life and processed through the campus conduct system,” the school said on its website.
In its letter, the university asked off-campus apartments and landlords to share the names of students involved in gatherings banned under Cooper’s order.
“UNCW cannot require local apartment complexes and landlords to provide the university this information,” Mike Walker, associate vice chancellor and dean of students, said in a statement. “However, in the spirit of attempting to keep our students, their peers, and the broader community safe, we have simply requested that they share information with us if it includes a violation of the Governor’s Executive Order 155.”
“It feels a bit invasive,” student Meredith Templeton told WECT. “But I understand where they’re coming from, they are trying to keep everyone safe.”
UNCW said seven positive COVID-19 cases were reported to its Student Health Center last week, the most recent date for which online information was available. The school year started Wednesday with a mix of virtual, in-person and “hybrid” classes, according to the university.
The school’s request to apartments comes as coronavirus outbreaks have been reported at some reopened North Carolina campuses.
N.C. State University in Raleigh has reported three COVID-19 clusters on and off campus. Each cluster consists of at least five cases.
UNC-Chapel Hill, which has reported six clusters in its campus community, transitioned to online-only undergraduate classes and started to clear out its student housing facilities.
Gatherings had been reported near both N.C. State and UNC-Chapel Hill.
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Simone Jasper is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.