Santa Clara University fraternity faces consequences for super-spreader event

Santa Clara University administrators are enforcing harsher consequences for violating county COVID-19 orders after an off-campus fraternity party brought dozens of students from the University to gather, many without masks, on Saturday, January 23. 

Cal Phi, an unchartered fraternity unique to Santa Clara University, hosted an "Aspen in the 80's" themed party in the backyard of their off-campus house on Bellomy Street.

The Santa Clara, the school's student newspaper, counted as many as 75 students in attendance, based on a photo that circulated on Instagram.

"It was a lot of noise and hubbub, there was a lot of commotion, a lot of ruckus, even before I woke up," Gena Bruce, a senior at SCU, who lives nearby the Cal Phi house and several other fraternity homes, said.

Bruce noted that she could see several gatherings in backyards from her window last Saturday

"I was honestly disturbed at the lack of respect and decent humanity for others," Bruce said.

Unlike other parties from eariler in the year, students who attened the Cal Phi party posted photos of themselves on social media.

Students took screenshots of those posts and reported their peers to the administration.

In response, Jeanne Rosenberger, the University's Vice Provost for Student Life emailed the campus Wednesday, stating in part, "the Office of Student Life has received numerous complaints from the large gatherings this past weekend and are actively following up on each report.To be clear -- the University expects all students to follow the health directives. Failure to do so has consequences."

Students who host gatherings that violate Santa Clara County's public healh orders will face a $500 fine and suspension, Rosenberger wrote.

"I think it was a great response to happen in a timely manner going forward to mitigate some of these issues, and these super-spreader events," Ciara Moezidis, a senior at SCU, said.

Bruce and Moezidis said that the majority of their peers do take COVID precautions seriously, which made the Cal Phi event all the more shocking.

"I think it ultimately sparked more accountability for the rest of the student body to check themselves and really reflect on kind of the consequences of their action[s] not just within Santa Clara University but also our neighborhood" Moezidis.

A representative from Cal Phi who asked to remain anonymous said in a statement that the fraternity is "committed to preventing a similar situation from occurring this year."