The editorial board for the Daily Tar Heel (DTH), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s student newspaper, didn’t mince words in a pointed editorial aimed at UNC’s leadership titled, “UNC has a clusterf**k on its hands.”
UNC was forced to cancel in-person classes and switch to remote learning after at least 130 students tested positive for Covid-19 in the first week of classes. As of Monday morning, 954 students were tested, 177 students were put in isolation and another 349 in quarantine.
“We all saw this coming,” the DTH editorial board wrote.
Adding, “But University leadership should have expected students, many of whom are now living on their own for the first time, to be reckless. Reports of parties throughout the weekend come as no surprise. Though these students are not faultless, it was the University’s responsibility to disincentivize such gatherings by reconsidering its plans to operate in-person earlier on.”
The school chose to ignore the recommendation of the Orange County Health Department (OCHD) to restrict on campus housing to “at-risk students” and to shift to remote learning for at least the first 5 weeks of the semester, the editorial said.
In a letter to students addressing the OCHD’s recommendations, UNC Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz said the school took actions that “we believe address their concerns.” However, while the school took some actions such as reducing residential capacity, it appears not to have been enough.
“As much as we believe we have worked diligently to help create a healthy and safe campus living and learning environment, we believe the current data presents an untenable situation,” Guskiewicz said.
Guskiewicz blamed off-campus activities for the outbreak.
UNC isn’t alone, as there have been outbreaks reported at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Kentucky, Oklahoma State University and several other schools.
“We’re angry – and we’re scared,” the board wrote. “We’re tired of the gaslighting, tired of the secrecy, tired of being treated like cash cows by a University with such blatant disregard for our lives.”
North Carolina has the ninth-most coronavirus cases in the country with 145,516 cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
The DTH editorial board and Guskiewicz did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.