Northeastern University says it’s still suspending a group of first-year students for violating the school’s strict social distancing policies, but administrators have decided to credit their tuition bills.
Earlier this month, Northeastern kicked out 11 first-year students caught hanging out — without masks — in a downtown Westin hotel room, where they were living to help de-densify the Roxbury campus and slow the spread of COVID-19.
At first, Northeastern said they would not get any refunds for money they had already paid.
All of the students appealed their suspensions to a conduct appeals board, which upheld them. But after some of the students hired lawyers, Northeastern decided to ease the sanctions and to credit their fall tuition — totaling more than $27,760 dollars — toward the spring semester. For now, they won’t receive refunds or credit for room and board or other fees.
In a statement, Northeastern says while the students are still suspended, they’ll have access to academic advising, mental health and other support services.
The student conduct case has drawn national attention and headlines as colleges across the country struggle to slow the spread of COVID and continue to offer in-person, residential education.
Compared to other Boston-area colleges, Northeastern has been more strict in enforcing its social distance policies. In August, administrators threatened to rescind admissions of more than 100 students who had responded "yes" to a survey posted on Instagram asking them whether planned to party on campus.