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SDSU parents outraged over possible student suspensions for COVID-19 violations

Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill Monday requiring California State University undergraduates to take an ethnic studies course to graduate.
Posted at 4:41 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 11:09:32-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego State University is defending its coronavirus-related disciplinary protocols after angry parents criticized them. The family of a student tells ABC 10News that she may be suspended for an entire semester for not reporting her COVID-19 test result fast enough.

Marc Peterson says that his daughter is a sophomore. He asked that ABC 10News not show her face or use her name out of fear of retribution. He says that she lives in a single room in the dorms. When she fell ill, he says that she visited the County’s testing site on-campus, which is where she reportedly tested positive. Peterson says that she waited four days to notify the housing authority, instead of doing it immediately.

“She thought [that] she didn't have to because the test was done on-campus. She thought it was being reported to the school,” he told ABC 10News on Monday and added, “The documentation that she had signed for housing said that she should report results or contact with other students ‘immediately' and ‘immediately' is not defined in any of the paperwork.”

He says that she self-quarantined but still got in trouble. Peterson shared a letter that he says the school sent her which outlined options of taking an academic suspension for the spring semester or taking an academic suspension for this current semester. “It means that all the work that you've done all this semester will be wiped out. You're giving up this entire semester,” he explained.

He says that he’s part of a Facebook group where dozens of other SDSU parents are posting about similar disciplinary actions for, what he calls, minor offenses during a rapidly changing pandemic. “It seems like the school is very overhandedly punishing students in this environment,” he added.

Peterson says that his daughter plans to fight the possibility of suspension with the school.

SDSU sent the following information to ABC 10News.

"We cannot provide specific information relating to specific cases or students’ academic records due to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations. However, we hope the following information will be helpful.

SDSU has rolled out extensive education campaigns through social media, signage, dedicated websites (i.e. SDSU Flex [sdsu.edu] & SDSU.edu/COVID-19 [sa.sdsu.edu]), and timely email communications related to the university’s COVID-19 related policies and overall response to the pandemic. In these communications, we have detailed that all members of the university community should adhere to university policy and also county, state and federal public health guidelines and orders.

Given the severity of the pandemic, SDSU continues to pursue disciplinary actions related to both organizational [sa.sdsu.edu] and individual [csrr.sdsu.edu] violations should any COVID-19 policies not be followed. Consequences can include an official warning, suspension, or expulsion in extreme cases. To date, 1,423 notices of possible individual or organizational violations have been issued. Those issued to student organizations will include investigations into the alleged violations. Additional notices of violation are pending. Again, due to privacy regulations, additional details about these cases cannot be shared."