Off-campus party forces Clemson Police and University leaders to hammer down on social gatherings

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CLEMSON, SC (WSPA) – Clemson Police said not everyone is following the stay at home order, particularly those who live near the campus.

Clemson University students may be out of school, but city authorities said nearly 100 students still gathered at a house party in downtown Clemson last weekend. Although no citations were issued, police said from now on, they will hammer down on students and anyone in the City who doesn’t follow the mandate.

“We received reports from local officials both in the City of Clemson and in Oconee County about gatherings that involved Clemson students who live off campus,” said Joe Galbraith, Associate VP of Communications at Clemson University.

Police said the party was at a private home on Edgewood Avenue.

“We’d received complaints about a party where there were a large number of people walking to and from the residence and it concerned some of the residence because of the executive order,” said Chief Jeffrey Stone, with the Clemson Police Department.

One resident who frequents the campus and lives downtown, isn’t too happy about it.

“I think it was a little bit selfish…irresponsible to host a party…a gathering event, especially in the midst of everything going on,” said Chase Hooks.

Police broke up the party, but no one was charged with a crime.

“That was one reason we didn’t go ahead and make any charges at that time, because everything was actually legitimate,” said Chief Stone.

Now police said they will be stricter and will likely enforce their ‘social host ordinance’. The Chief said if necessary, they will issue tickets or make arrest.

“It actually covers the public health and safety. And we decided to use that as a tool to be able to limit the number of people when those situations arise,” Chief Stone explained.

Clemson University said they will also seek disciplinary action for any student who fails to follow the rules.

“Any student is subjected to the student code of conduct. And as the Governor said, law enforcement is authorized to make citations and charge misdemeanors for these things,” Galbraith said.

“It’s a global pandemic and the last thing on anybody’s mind should be getting together and congregating, and instead try to abide by what the Governor is saying,” Hooks added.

Clemson University leaders want students to remember the Division of Student Affairs will be contacted by law enforcement any time this happens. As for the City, law enforcement wants other residents to know they are watching closely too.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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