ECU police take initiative, patrol and shut down parties to avoid COVID-19

With college back in session and students back in town, so too are the parties that they throw.
Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 8:36 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2020 at 9:10 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - With college back in session and students back in town, so too are the parties they throw.

Despite COVID-19 mandates about large gatherings, ECU police say they have already had to shut down 20 student parties. They say one of them was packed with about 400 students.

Although police and neighbors in the area are not shocked student parties, both worry about the potential for the virus to be spread because of the parties.

Ann Maxwell lives right next to the ECU Rivers building and by popular student housing. “It is a major concern for our neighborhood,” she said. “After this weekend I am very concerned that the numbers will rise in Pitt County.”

ECU police say that’s why they’ve partnered with Greenville police and dedicated four of their officers to patrol areas that could be hot spots for parties and virus spread.

ECU Police Captain Chris Sutton says that’s one of their most important jobs right now. “This is to ensure that they can go back to having fun [in the future]” he explained.

Some students, like ECU senior Sarah Springer, are trying to stay away from the parties. “I couldn’t bring that home to my parents. I would rather kind of stay and hang out with a select few,” she said.

Springer says she may be in the minority though, knowing that a popular nightlife is central to ECU culture. “It’s just hard to stop people getting together at this school,” she said.

ECU police say they will give students throwing parties with more than 25 people a warning at first. If they have to come back multiple times, students could face school-related consequences or even state charges.

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