Ohio College Students Caught Throwing Party, One Says Everyone Attending Has Coronavirus

Several students of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, were given citations for holding a party, at which one of the individuals claimed all the attendees had COVID-19.

The Oxford police reportedly had a busy weekend, as multiple house parties were busted, Cincinnati's Local 12 reported on Wednesday. The news station said that more than 1,000 students from the university had tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Body camera footage broadcast on Cincinnati's TV channel WOIO 19 showed an officer confronting a student while a party takes place in a house behind him. After he checks the student's identification, the officer is told that the young man had tested positive for COVID-19.

"How many other people have COVID?" the officer asked the young man.

"They all do," the young man responds, gesturing toward the house.

"Everybody has it?" the officer asks.

"Yep," the young man replies.

Discarded face mask
A discarded face mask is pictured on a sidewalk during the coronavirus pandemic, in Long Beach, California, on August 22. The Oxford, Ohio, police reportedly had a busy weekend, as multiple house parties were busted. APU GOMES/AFP/Getty

Lt. Lara Fening of the Oxford Police Department told Local 12 that this appeared to be a particularly "egregious" violation of pandemic restrictions.

"This particular case is egregious, but I think for the most part, by in large, the students have been very well behaved," Fening said.

Fening later told Newsweek in an email that "it is worrisome that there were at the very least ten people who left the party before we could ascertain whether or not they had knowledge of the presence of the virus in the household. They were unable to be advised to seek testing and preventative care."

According to WOIO 19, the police gave out citations to six people attending the party. Five of those individuals lived in the house where the event was held. Reportedly about 20 people in total came to the house for the gathering.

In the body camera video, the officer can be heard saying the fine is $500, warning that the students will probably face more repercussions from their university. A spokesperson for Miami University told Newsweek in an email that they could not comment on specific student cases but violations like this would typically result in suspension.

"Any student who violates quarantine or isolation rules or hosts large gatherings that violate the City of Oxford mass gathering ordinance will face disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct," the university spokesperson explained. "While we cannot comment on individual cases, we take these matters seriously, and a typical sanction for these offenses is suspension."

The university's website says that the school plans to resume holding in-person and hybrid classes starting on September 21. "This decision was made after many lengthy discussions and consultation with public health experts," Miami University President Gregory Crawford said. "The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as the Oxford community, is our top priority."

Students are to be tested regularly during the semester, the university's website explains. "Throughout the semester, surveillance and wide-net testing will continue. This gives the campus community the most accurate picture of the pandemic's effect on the university," it says.

As of Thursday afternoon, Ohio had confirmed 132,965 cases of the new coronavirus, according to a tracker by The New York Times. Of those infected, 4,324 have died. Ohio currently has a seven-day average of new cases just over 1,000 per day. Over the past week, the state has been averaging a little more than 20 deaths per day due to COVID-19.

Updated September 11, 2020 at 10:57 a.m.: Additional comments from the Oxford Police Department and Miami University have been added.