Northeastern University threatened to rescind admissions offers to more than 100 incoming freshmen who indicated on an Instagram poll—which was advertised as anonymous—that they would attend parties after arriving on campus.
The move comes after a student-run Instagram account, @northeasternclassof24, posted a poll last week asking students if they planned on hosting or attending parties on campus. Though the poll said responses were anonymous, the account's owner turned over the names of 115 students who responded, "hell yes" to administrators.
The school's senior vice chancellor for student affairs, Madeleine Estabrook, then asked the students to write a letter stating their intent to follow the school’s guidelines. If they fail to do so the school may rescind the students’ admissions offers.
"It has been brought to our attention that on a social media platform you have indicated an intent to gather in large groups and engage in parties while disregarding numerous government and university restrictions regarding safe distancing and social gatherings during the COVID-19 crisis, and encouraged others to do the same," Estabrook’s email on Friday to the incoming students said. "This is unacceptable, will not be tolerated, and presents a danger to your health and the health of our community."
Estabrook said students who responded "yes" had a "harmful impact" on the community and "displayed disregard" for others—even though they had not yet arrived on campus.
"[Y]ou have displayed a disregard for health and safety measures, jeopardized our chances to keep our community safe, and increased the possibility that you and others—including your classmates—might not be able to complete the semester," Estabrook said. "Even if this gesture on social media was made in jest, your willingness to mock the well-being of our community, and the efforts made to protect it, demonstrates a degree of carelessness that does not meet the values and principles we uphold."
To keep tabs on students, a Northeastern spokeswoman said the school would create a confidential tip line for students to anonymously tattle on each other for not following the school’s social distancing guidelines.