UC Berkeley students raise concerns about large social gatherings near campus

Photo of a portion of UC Berkeley's Frat Row
Jasmany Flores/Staff
Concerns were also raised in response to incidents related to campus Greek life, with one TikTok video allegedly showing a sorority chapter participating in a public activity without using masks.

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Through various social media posts, UC Berkeley students raised concerns about large social gatherings occurring on and near campus, alleging a lack of compliance with COVID-19 health orders.

These posts, spread through TikTok, Twitter and the Overheard at UC Berkeley Facebook page, are receiving hundreds of reactions from the campus community. Most of the posts are videos of students and student organizations participating in activities without wearing masks or not social distancing.

“I have seen a couple of gatherings on social media,” said campus senior Gabriella Allaf in an email. “My initial reaction to these videos are disappointment.”

Concerns were also raised in response to incidents related to campus Greek life, with one TikTok video allegedly showing a sorority chapter participating in a public activity without using masks.

Campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff said in an email that the campus has been partnering with the Greek community on this issue. Ratliff added that the campus has “repeatedly” conveyed to fraternities and sororities that all of their activities are to be virtual, with the LEAD Center working specifically with Greek councils and chapters to support the virtual transition.

The campus Panhellenic Council and Interfraternity Council could not be reached for comment as of press time.

According to Allaf, social media posts are a way to hold campus community members accountable for their actions.

“It is important to keep in mind the social contract with which we all are abound,” Allaf said in the email. “One’s actions truly do impact the lives of others around them.”

Ratliff noted that local authorities can take action against people who violate public health orders off campus.

The state of California requires the campus to ensure that official, affiliated student organizations comply with state guidelines off campus, according to Ratliff. UC Berkeley prohibits the organization or sponsoring of all in-person activities from Registered Student Organizations that are off campus. Students violating public health orders on campus may be subject to campus disciplinary processes.

Ratliff added that failure to comply with campus policies can result in a Center for Student Conduct investigation and the community is also able to report COVID-19 related misconduct to the center.

“Our sincere hope is that our educational campaigns to the campus community will help limit large gatherings, but we all need to work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Ratliff said in the email.

Contact Thao Nguyen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @tnguyen_dc.