Students were welcomed back to StFX University and Antigonish last August.

ANTIGONISH: Officials with StFX University handed out 124 formal reprimands, including four one-term suspensions following disciplinary actions against students failing to adhere to the university’s COVID-19 pandemic plan during the fall semester.

Between August 15 and October 8, the Office of Student Life received, investigated and adjudicated 210 reports involving 357 students which included violations of failing to self-isolate, on and off-campus gatherings exceeding maximums, not physical distancing, and not wearing a mask on campus.

In addition to the cases adjudicated formally, 145 student cases were informally resolved through the Office of Student Life.

Elizabeth Yeo, vice president students, indicated of the 210 reports, 62 students were found responsible, with 180 students taking responsibility, while 115 students were found, after investigation, not responsible – and 21 reports were incidents that occurred off-campus.

“The university has handed out penalties that range from disciplinary probation, community service, right up to four university suspensions,” Yeo said. “And those, of course, are related to the most serious offences, and that’s what’s happened in the last eight-weeks.”

The university also handed out 10 formal disciplinary probation notices, 24 formal residence probation notices, 30 fines ranging from $200 to $500, and 56 community service and/or educational sanctions.

Additional outcomes included formal warnings and smaller fines.

“The vast majority of students understand the importance of COVID-19 health protocols on campus,” Yeo said. “And [they] have demonstrated they are willing to adopt the lifestyle changes needed to support the continuation of in-person classes.”

The university is also pleased to report a reduction in other community code incidents relative to the same period of time in previous years, something she said is attributable to students’ adoption of lower-risk behaviour.

“Resulting in a more positive learning, living and working environment for students and staff,” Yeo said. “We were really focused on education – reinforcing the importance of provincial health protocols and emphasizing a concern for our community.”

She added the fall semester acted as a learning experience for university officials and students and her expectation is with the education gained they won’t see a repeat of those behaviours.

“My expectation is that those numbers will decrease.”