Three UMass Amherst students were suspended, then kicked out entirely—costing them $16,000 each in tuition—after they attended an off-campus party on a March weekend without wearing masks. A picture of the three freshmen, all females, posing outside with no facial coverings was posted on social media, and someone sent it to school officials, CBS Boston reports. The trio was immediately moved out of on-campus housing and suspended; they were allowed to move back home and attend classes remotely while they appealed. But they've now lost the appeal and have been kicked out of school, their parents tell WCVB. The $16,000 each spent on tuition for the semester will not be refunded.
The parents say the situation has been "devastating," and note that the school's hockey team was seen celebrating its national championship win on-campus, with some members not wearing masks. But school officials say students had ample warning that there would be consequences for failure to follow public health protocols, and they tell the Washington Post that the hockey incident, while "regrettable," happened in April, when COVID-19 cases were much lower and the protocols had been loosened. The families have hired a lawyer and plan to file a class-action lawsuit. (Read more coronavirus stories.)