At any other time in our history, under any other circumstances, we’d say go for it. Have a blast. Party party party.
But this isn’t any other time. And these are the worst of circumstances.
We are smack in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, facing a highly contagious disease that we still don’t know much about other than that 5.5 million Americans have caught it, at least 174,000 Americans have died from it, and we’re nowhere near the end of it.
And while college is supposed to be a time of freedom and fun, it’s also a time to take on more adult responsibilities.
So to see college students all around the state and country staging large parties, not social distancing and not wearing masks as the pandemic rages on, it makes one wonder whether adulthood is within their grasp.
Here in New York, hundreds of freshmen students at Syracuse University this week pretended as if they were living in their own bubble of immunity, seemingly ignorant of the disease that not only has claimed so many lives, but also claimed their last year of high school, their graduation ceremony and their last vestiges of childhood.
College students who ignore the reality of the covid crisis and put their own lives and the lives of others in danger need to pay a price for their actions.
Syracuse University officials immediately placed 23 students who attended that party on interim suspension and sent a notice to students saying organizers of such events could be subject to expulsion or suspension.
Student partiers are not only placing each other in jeopardy of illness. They’re also jeopardizing their own education and the education of other students. If their school gets enough cases, it could be forced to shut down for a couple of weeks or an entire semester.
That means either incomplete educations or some kind of remote hybrid.
Students returning to colleges in our area should take a lesson and recognize that they can’t act like every other college kid in history. It’s unfortunate and unfair. But life isn’t always fair.
College officials also need to make it clear from the get-go, as Syracuse officials have done, that they will act swiftly and aggressively toward violators of campus gathering policies to ensure the safety of the student body and to preserve the college’s educational mission.
If the covid crisis reminds us of anything, it’s that we all have to take responsibility.
As young adults, the sooner you learn that lesson, the better off we’ll all be.