Four UAlbany Students Suspended For Violating COVID-19 Protocols

Recorded on September 1, 2020

Four University of Albany students have been temporarily suspended from campus after allegedly violating both the college’s and the state’s COVID-19 protocols. The suspensions relate to large, off-campus gatherings that took place in late August. Do the students have any legal recourse? Attorney Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on PYX106 discussing issue.

Please give it a listen or read the transcript below.

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Announcer: Quinn and Cantara.

Male 1: It’s 1-800-LAW-1010, Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti on the phone.

Male 2: Morning, Paul.

Paul: Good morning, guys.

Male 2: So, we throw these stories at you each week, and I guess I don’t know what I’m looking… I’m looking to stir it up a little bit.

Male 1: Yeah. Well, it needs to be stirred.

Male 2: This is the four University of Albany students who’ve been temporarily suspended from campus for violating the college and state’s protocols. They went off-campus. Do they have any…

Paul: The COVID protocols?

Male 2: Yeah, the COVID… Do they have any legal fight here? Is it even worth trying to stand up to this, Paul?

Paul: Well, this is the shot across the bow, right? They knew it was going to happen, they knew when it happened, they were gonna be quick and decisive. You take the first people, kind of mow them down, and then everybody else falls in line. So, there’s college protocols that were violated, there’s state of New York COVID protocols also violated. So they’re probably well within their rights to suspend the students. And, again, suspended, they’ll be back. They’re going to learn their lesson, hopefully, when some of this is behind us.

Male 1: A hundred and eighty-three thousand dead people, it’s tough to believe we still need lessons learned in this country, you know.

Paul: Well, you know, you’re young and, you know, they probably didn’t start out to have… they can have a get-together of 50 people or less, right. But that, you know, what happens in college, you know, the word, just circulates that, you know, that Quinn is throwing a party and then all of a sudden…

Male 1: It’s the way it happens, Paul.

Paul: …you know, you have 10 best friends and then there’s hundreds. And I think here, it looked like, from what I read quickly, that it developed into, you know, several hundred people kind of showing up throughout the night.

Male 1: But if they’re paying for their school and the school kicks them out, there’s gotta be a legal loophole in there somewhere.

Male 2: But they, when you, I guess, enroll, you sign…

Male 1: You sign something.

Male 2: …off to abide by the college rules, right?

Male 1: Right.

Paul: The code of conduct, yeah. And you have college rules. So, you know, for certain things, if you’re caught and have certain… For fighting, fighting could be one. If you have certain criminal penalties against you, if you have certain actions, you know, you can be let go. I think what they’ll end up doing is, you know, just letting them kind of come back and my guess is in the fall semester, I take it back, the spring semester. And right now, are they learning online? I don’t know. I know they’re suspended, probably not. They’re just kind of home, you know, doing these things in their parents’ basement.

Male 2: You just wonder if the ACLU could get behind this.

Male 1: Right.

Male 2: I mean, who wants to be the people that fight…

Male 1: The ACLU’s got behind stuff they don’t like before, you know.

Male 2: I know.

Paul: Yeah. I feel like all the colleges have done, you know, not all but many have done the same thing across the country. They anticipated it, the college broke out, they took it, you know, they really took some aggressive action and probably it will be all they need to do and it’s the right thing to do. So, you know, there’s not a lot of public support for, I think, getting these kids back in school. You know, could they have reprimanded them and said, “Hey, you know, you’re on double secret probation, but you’re still in school, you know, if you do it again,” maybe, but they didn’t, so I think there’s that.

Male 1: Just a, more of a legal question. When Trump says something about, you know, that kid, he was probably gonna get killed before he shot those guys after he fell down, does that affect a court case down the line when the president says something like that publicly like he did yesterday?

Paul: No. No, there’s not…

Male 1: Okay.

Paul: No, not going affect court cases. It’s just, you know, there’s all kind of banter going on and, you know, this stuff is reasonable, unreasonable, but the court kind of stays steady behind laws, rules and precedent, so.

Male 2: The scales of justice, Paul. I don’t know where I was going there, but I felt like mentioning them. They don’t…

Male 1: No, well, you gotta trust him.

Male 2: Paul, thanks for the time this morning, we appreciate it.

Paul: You’re welcome, guys.

Male 1: All right. Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. 1-800-LAW-1010,