East Carolina University police shut down 20 parties, one with nearly 400 students, days into fall semester

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Students at East Carolina University have not stopped partying during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ECU Police Department said officers have already shut down 20 parties; one of them was packed with around 400 students.

The fact that college students have parties is not shocking to anyone, but police and neighbors in the area are worried that parties in 2020 will result in an increase in COVID-19 cases.

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"It is a major concern for our neighborhood," Ann Maxwell, lives next to a popular housing complex for ECU students, told WITN. "After this weekend I am very concerned that the numbers will rise in Pitt County."

ECU Police Department Captain Chris Sutton said stopping parties that could spread the virus is one of the department's most important jobs right now.

"This is to ensure that they can go back to having fun (in the future)" he said.

That's why ECU Police Department partnered with Greenville Police Department to create efficient patrols of areas known as hot spots for parties.

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However, not all ECU students are seeking out parties and ignoring social distance guidelines.

"I couldn't bring that home to my parents. I would rather kind of stay and hang out with a select few," ECU senior Sarah Springer said. "It's just hard to stop people getting together at this school," she said.

ECU Police Department said it would give warnings out to any students at parties with more than 25 people. However, if they have to come back multiple times, students could then face more strict punishment from ECU or even the state.
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