President Dean Condemns COVID Cluster at Theta Chi Fraternity

Sept. 6, 2020

Dear Members of the University Community—

Earlier tonight, we shared news that over 100 people attended a party at Theta Chi fraternity on August 29 and there are at this time 11 positive COVID cases traced to that party (see below). This party was attended by many UNH students and non-students.
 
Let me be clear: this is reckless behavior and the kind of behavior that undermines our planning and will lead to us switching to a fully remote mode. We have repeatedly asked all members of our community to practice and adhere to public health guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID (mask wearing, social distancing, no large gatherings, etc) and I’ve been pleased that the overwhelming majority of you are following these guidelines.              
 
The August 29 party is reprehensible and will not be tolerated. As soon as we heard of this party at Theta Chi, we started an investigation with the Interfraternity Council. We will be pursuing student conduct charges against the organizers and all students who attended the event. Theta Chi is under interim suspension immediately,  as will any fraternity/sorority or other student organization that behaves in a similar manner, while we conduct the investigation. Until the investigation is complete, there is a moratorium on any in-person gatherings of any size within these groups. 
 
Regards,

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UNH Announces COVID-19 Positive Cluster at Theta Chi Fraternity

In partnership with the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services, the University of New Hampshire has confirmed that there has been a cluster reporting (three or more cases in one location) of COVID-19 cases at Theta Chi fraternity. As the result of a party of more than 100 people not wearing masks Saturday, Aug. 29, there are 11 positive cases, including members of the UNH community, confirmed. Any guests of the Aug. 29 party who are not members of the fraternity but are part of the UNH community should immediately quarantine and contact UNH Health & Wellness at (603) 862-9355. The Office of Community Standards is taking the fraternity through student conduct judicial proceedings due to the size of the gathering and lack of mask wearing.

The university is taking several precautions to keep its community safe by testing students and staff regularly, enhanced cleaning on campus and requiring all members to wear masks. All members of the fraternity are in a 14-day quarantine.

COVID-19 continues to circulate in our communities. People can protect themselves and help prevent further infections in our communities by:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. 
  • Avoiding close contact with others. When outside your home, keep a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others. This is known as social distancing. 
  • Wearing a cloth face covering that covers your mouth and nose to protect others when in public areas.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. 
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Staying home if you have a fever or are not feeling well. 
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • For more information on COVID-19 in NH, please visit https://www.nh.gov/covid19/

James W. Dean Jr.

President