ORWELLIAN CAMPUS: Universities encouraging students to report peers who aren’t following COVID-19 guidelines

Saturday, August 22, 2020
By Paul Martin

by: Zoey Sky
Saturday, August 22, 2020

In an effort to stem the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) on campus, universities throughout America are asking students to report peers who they suspect to be infected. Other systems also ask students to file reports if they think there are people who aren’t following COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

While these programs mean well, enforcing them might have unfortunate implications, especially if some students abuse the system. Experts have already spoken up about the implications of these systems meant to monitor potential coronavirus cases and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Who wants to join the “coronavirus police?”

At the University of Miami (UM), a system allows students to anonymously report any “concerns about unsafe behaviors” of their peers. The reports will then be reviewed by university administrators who will contact the student of concern by the next business day to provide assistance before any student “reaches a crisis level.”

Meanwhile, UM faculty, staff and administrators are encouraged to directly contact the school authorities for suspected cases. As a safeguard, UM’s “Report a Concern” website warns that anyone providing false information “may be subject to University disciplinary action.”

At Texas A&M University (TAMU), faculty members and administrators can use a similar system to file a report if they think someone else on campus has been infected with the coronavirus.

At Tulane University, students and other university members are encouraged to speak up about “problematic behavior” related to COVID-19. Depending on the incident being reported, students can also call the university police.

On the reporting page announcement, Erica Woodly, Tulane Dean of Students, called on students to keep an eye out for these so-called incidents. She wrote, “Do you really want to be the reason that Tulane and New Orleans have to shut down again?”

Meanwhile, Yale University tells students to “make reports concerning COVID-19” to the university hotline.

Concern or unnecessary policing?


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