Carroll University students suspended due to violating COVID-19 policy

NOW: Carroll University students suspended due to violating COVID-19 policy

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Three students have been officially suspended from Carroll University for one semester. They say it was all due to a small back-to-school gathering outside of their home. However, the university says it breached the code of conduct. 

“I was shocked and dumbfounded. None of us knew what we were doing could get us suspended," said Tanner Hoffman, a junior at the university.

On Aug. 21,  Hoffman, Blake Williams, and Alec Hamilton invited a few of their friends over. He says they wanted to kick off the school year in a fun way. 

"Only 20 people, wasn’t a giant rager or anything like that, we actually didn’t break any of the Waukesha County laws," he said.

It was a photo of the gathering that got back to the university. School leaders say it violated their COVID-19 policy, which is only a gathering of 10 people or less.

“Every student was required to read and sign a statement that they agreed to and understood regarding our COVID-19 specific policy," said Dr. Cindy Gnadinger, president of the university. 

Hoffman says the policy didn’t say anything about off-campus events.

It only applied for on-campus. We read through it multiple times. There’s not a single thing that states off campus gatherings," Hoffman said. 

“We’ve made our COVID-19 specific policies applicable to off campus student gatherings," Dr. Gnadinger said.

After being suspended, they tried to appeal but were denied.

Hoffman says in their handbook it says any student who is suspended will not receive any refund or credit. Dr. Gnadinger says that's not true.

“Our refund policy is found  in our catalog. Students who leave during the first 14 days of the semester regarding of reason receive an 80 person refund of their tuition," Dr. Gnadinger said. 

Hoffman also mentioned he thinks he and his roommates were made as an example. 

“I think it was just a scare tactic for students to see what they would do if you broke their code of conduct," Hoffman said.

Hoffman tells CBS 58 that he is not sure what he or his roommates will do for this semester, but they will be productive.

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