Fall Semester with No Parties?

As the 2020-21 Academic Year students are starting to create a ‘new normal,’ missing one infamous aspect of campus life—the parties.


The normally lively and close quarters Anderson Center has been arranged to spread groups out, keeping social distancing measures intact.

Jack Fischer, Reporter

As Hamline students return to campus, it seems that Fall Semester is in full swing, Anderson Center is full of students eating, classes are taking place on the basketball and tennis courts, and even Fall sports are holding practices. One critical aspect of the “college experience” seems to be missing– the parties. 

As documented in the CDC’s guidance to Colleges and Universities a critical step in controlling the Novel Coronavirus and preventing a college outbreak is students’ implementation and adherence to social distancing measures and mask usage. In its guidance to Colleges and Universities regarding gatherings the CDC writes “pursue virtual group events, gatherings or meetings, if possible, and promote social distancing of at least 6 feet between people if events are held. Limit group size to the extent possible.

Students eating in the dining area of the Anderson Center
First Year Max Ridenour finds a quiet spot to relax and work, still wearing their mask to ensure safety.

Unfortunately for students who had high hopes to spend the 2020/21 Academic year partying, it seems as though there isn’t a safe way to do so. But, will that stop students from partying anyways, ignoring CDC and Hamline policies? We have yet to see. 

Unconfirmed rumors of off-campus parties, thrown by Hamline students, have been circling campus and social media sites, however as of this reporting, the Associate Dean of Students, Javier Gutierrez, (he/him) has confirmed that there are no pending or current investigations into any off-campus gatherings. Further– requests to obtain police reports by the Oracle in the neighborhood on nights of these rumored events were left unanswered. 

Gutierrez adds that for off-campus students having gatherings, even if they are socially distant and outdoors, while students might be taking steps to mitigate the virus spread or only have a few friends over for a barbecue, that isn’t necessarily the perception that neighbors and community members have. Neighbors might see a group of young people outside and automatically assume or label it as a ‘party.’

Gutierrez urges off-campus students to “get to know your neighbors, talk to them say hey, my name is so and so, I am going to be having people over for a cookout and I just want you to be aware, if there is a problem let me know.”

The U of M, the biggest university in the state of Minnesota by student enrollment numbers implemented the “Maron and Gold Sunrise” plan—within the plan various steps were implemented to help slow the spread and prevent community outbreaks, including pushing back on-campus move-in for two weeks, and beginning the Fall Semester completely virtually. 

Unfortunately for the U, just one day after on-campus students moved in, pictures and videos surfaced on Twitter depicting 100-150 students, mostly mask-less, gathering together in a shared gathering space outside of multiple U of M dorm buildings, also known as ‘Superblock.’

On Twitter, U of M student Meghan Cahill (she/her, 21’) writes “hundreds of freshmen out partying, and campus security didn’t even answer the phone when called for help to shut this down.” Another student took a snapchat of the massive gathering and cynically captioned it “looks like I’m coming back to Fargo in a week.”

So, if the biggest school in the state with the most resources is having a hard time controlling gatherings during a pandemic how will Hamline be able to react, respond, and keep our community safe this year?

A single student studying in the echo circle on campus
First Year Max Ridenour finds a quiet spot to relax and work, still wearing their mask to ensure safety.

When asked about recent events at the U of M, Gutierrez confirms that if any Hamline students were reported to be in attendance, an investigation will be opened.

Hamline has not added any new policies regarding COVID-19 gatherings, instead the University is unique in that “our current policies already encompass what some schools have added with COVID and their policies” said Gutierrez. “Conduct which threatens the health and wellbeing of another person is already one of ours, and if you are either attending or hosting a party that falls under it. If you have a gathering that’s more than 25 [people] off-campus without physical distancing, without a mask, that is failure to comply with state and local laws and ordinances.” 

While the U of M is not unique in the culture of socialization, it is more visible than Hamline and other Universities in the area, and that may prove to have ripple effects.

As COVID-19 is a community spread issue, the Twin Cities is a community, and what happens in Minneapolis on the U of M’s campus affects the entire greater community. 

Gutierrez urges students who have knowledge of and are concerned about upcoming on or off-campus parties to report what they know to the Dean of Students Office by using the form on the Dean of Students site. Students can also go to https://tinyurl.com/HamlineReports as a shortcut.