Gannon announces social gathering guidelines


Gannon University announced that it will enforce strict social distancing guidelines in regard to social gatherings for both on and off-campus students.

Brian Nichols, vice president of student development and engagement for Gannon, laid out expectations for the student body in an email.

Effective immediately, the university will be limiting social gatherings at off-campus residences to no more than 15 people, which will also include the residents of the home.

For those in violation of the rule, which would be more than 15 people in attendance, the event will be shut down and could lead to the suspension of those individuals renting the house and further sanctions from the university.

In the event that a gathering has less than 15 people, but violates health standards, the gathering will be ended by campus police officers and will mandate the participants to meet with the student conduct office.

Health standards deemed to be violated in this scenario include no masks being worn and too many individuals being in the same space.

As for on-campus housing, gatherings that violate the established rules could lead to severe disciplinary action for all participants.

In the email, Nichols reminds those associated with the university that all are expected to “adhere to all local, state, and institutional guidelines related to the virus. This includes social distancing, mask requirements and no large gatherings.”

Doug Oathout, chief marketing & communications officer for Gannon, said the determining factor when deciding crowd limits was simply size.

“It started with the average square footage of the Gannon-owned residences that are not residence halls,” Oathout said.

“Each space on campus has a “COVID CAPACITY” that uses square footage divided by the 36-square-feet each person should have.”

Oathout said that social gatherings will be broken up.

“Gathering limits are also regulated by state and local authorities,” Oathout said. “Property owners and leasees face civil prosecution for violating these regulations. Gannon would support those prosecutions.”

So far Gannon has dealt with one violation of the rules, and it is being investigated, Oathout said.

Oathout said the importance of addressing these rules so early in the academic year was to inform the student body of expectations.

“We realized that, given the nice weather and the excitement of seeing friends, large gatherings were being planned,” Oathout said.

However, Oathout said, the worry lies in people failing to comply with mask mandates and social gathering guidelines, which could be cause for an outbreak of COVID-19.

To maintain a sense of normalcy in the middle of a pandemic, students need to be responsible, Oathout said.

“There are safe ways to gather with friends,” Oathout said. “Do those. Why risk being the one who shuts down your campus?”

These new rules and restrictions have hit the Gannon community in different ways.

Caden Pabon, a senior political science major, said that he felt the rules were an infringement on his rights.

“I don’t feel it is right that campus personnel can come to properties they have no authority over and check in to see what tenants are up to,” Pabon said. “We need to be given our space and our private property rights respected.”

Pabon further said he had concerns regarding social distancing guideline restrictions.

“I can’t even see my father who is currently being treated for cancer,” Pabon said.

“While that’s a big deal, it’s also a big deal that so many students are missing out on a chance to see a loved one or be around their friends.”

Alexis Grau, a junior nursing major, who lives in the Alpha Sigma Tau house, said that depending on the house size, the rules should vary.

“I don’t think the gathering rules should include those who live in a house or a property,” Grau said.

“In our house, there’s already nine of us, and if there was a day our families came up, we couldn’t let them in, which is unfair.”

Devin Williams, a junior pre-med biochemistry and mathematics major said the social gathering rules are essential to deterring mass gatherings of people.

“The different rules put into place both on campus and off campus are to decrease the unnecessary interaction with others,” Williams said.

“All the rules and regulations are put in place to keep our education up at the highest quality.”

Those seeking more information on Gannon’s policies regarding COVID-19, should visit



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