By Jimmy Muniz and Joyce Azonye
Before the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, Barry University implemented a 3-strike mask enforcement policy along with a “no guest” policy. Flash forward to today, residents claim these guidelines have been poorly enforced, causing students to question whether the COVID-19 pandemic protocol is important enough to follow while studying and living at Barry University.
Alexandria Altidor is a junior athletic training major at Barry. While living on campus this semester, she has admitted to observing several students walking from building to building without face masks, which is in direct violation of the August ruling.
On Aug. 26, 2020 at 11:21 am, Barry’s Dean of Students sent out an email with the subject heading - “Guidelines for Student Violations of Institutional Policies Regarding Facial Coverings, Physical Distancing, and Housing Guest Policy.”
Here is an excerpt from this email:
The first offense may result in “University Warning, Housing Probation, and behavioral agreement indicating that the student alleged to have violated the policy understands future behavior and will honor the policies as outlined by the University.”
The second offense - “a 1000-word research paper on the contagiousness of COVID-19, COVID-19 related deaths, and what the student will do moving forward to keep our community safe” or “University Probation, Loss of privileges (housing removal, campus restrictions, etc.).”
The third and final offense results in “separation and removal from the University – loss of any financial refunds.”
After being asked what Barry could do to ensure a safer environment, Altidor recommended that “if they were to utilize their security guards to simply ask the individuals to put on a face mask to follow protocol, things would be a lot safer.”
Even with stricter enforcement, Altidor said she still isn’t convinced that this would be effective.
“Everyone here is an adult and they can choose to do what they please,” she said.
Overall, several Barry students have chosen to ignore the rules in the face of these threats.
Case in point, residents have observed their dorm-mates violating the no-guest policy with no resulting penalty.
An anonymous student said she has repeatedly seen people who don’t attend Barry walking around on campus, and it makes her feel uneasy at times.
“If it’s so simple to sneak on to a gated community campus, what does that mean for our safety?” she said. “It’s enough to make one’s skin crawl."
She believes Barry's students play a large role in the violation.
At the guard gate on 111th Street, only people who are visible within a vehicle are required to show their Barry identification cards.
Students have been known to go to the extent of hiding their friends or significant others in the trunk of their car in order to make it past the security checkpoints located throughout campus.
The student confirmed this to be a regular occurrence in violation of the rules.
In addition, there is a gate that remains open until midnight across the street from Landon Student Union, which allows stragglers to freely roam on to campus with no consequence.
It is a safety concern for some students and “if the area is to remain unfenced, it should at least be guarded by some form of authority,” said the student.
Other Barry University students have witnessed similar situations.
According to another anonymous student, some students have even made it past security while using their friend's IDs as their own.
“Security needs to take their role a tad more seriously and verify that the face on the ID is the same as the face they’re allowing onto a gated campus,” she said. “There is a blatant disregard being shown toward the well-being of residential students and it’s time we do something about it."