MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University has suspended 29 students as a result of COVID-related investigations, with more sanctions possible as those investigations continue.

The suspensions come after the university received reports of large off-campus parties at fraternities not recognized by WVU.

In a release Saturday evening, WVU officials said a member of the Theta Chi fraternity who had tested positive for COVID-19 and was told to isolate attended a party at the house on Friday night.

The university had previously notified all the houses’ residents to also isolate or quarantine due to close contacts and positive cases.

Twenty-nine members of the fraternity have now been charged with failure to comply with isolation or quarantine orders by the university.

Those students are now banned from campus, and will not be permitted to attend classes either in person or online.

The release included a statement from Dean of Students Corey Farris, who said:

We know that these parties act as super spreaders. Their flagrant disregard for the health and safety of their classmates, our campus and the entire Morgantown community will not be tolerated.

WVU Dean of Students Corey Farris

Farris also noted that most students are following the safety protocols put in place, but that a minority would determine next steps for the university.

Farris said he hopes the charges will indicate how seriously the university is taking its response to the pandemic.

“This should serve as a message to anyone else who thinks the rules don’t apply to them. They do, and we will hold you accountable,” Farris said.