IU renews effort to send remaining students home, stem parties

(WTHR photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) - Heading into the weekend, there are renewed efforts to make sure Indiana University students who are still in Bloomington go home to be with their families.

And if that's not possible, officials will send a message to those who are staying that the party is over.

"It's eerie," said Deputy Chief Shannon Bunger. "It's a ghost town, it really is. We should have to 40- to 45-thousand students coming and going today. We should be getting ready...you see the Little 500 track behind me."

Instead, stadiums are empty. All activity at IU-Bloomington is officially canceled.

"We have asked students to return to their permanent residences from all of the IU campuses," said IU's Chuck Carney.

Student learning continues with classes online, and popular off-campus hot spots like Kilroy's are closed. Yet some students remain and are getting together in violation of the stay-at-home order and social distancing recommendations.

Bloomington police received 12 complaints about loud parties between March 20 and April 2. That's about half of the complaints for loud parties they received last year over the same time, so the number is down, but parties are still happening

IU police has assisted other departments on runs about parties.

"I think they were playing beer pong, which normally happens on our campus, not on our campus but the parties off campus in the spring," Bunger said.

In a change of tactics, Bloomington police are taking over patrols of neighborhoods with dense student populations, and consequences of violating stay at home orders will include university discipline.

"We will refer them to the the student conduct board, or a hearing officer can apply a variety of sanctions depending on the case," said Carney.

It's all an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Monroe County. IU reports 55 students, faculty and staff have self-reported a positive COVID-19 test result and suspect the actual number is much higher.

"This is not something we are doing to be hard; this is something we're doing because it's literally a life-and-death matter," Carney said.