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Purdue suspends 13 student-athletes for holding party amid pandemic

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Purdue University announced Monday that 13 student-athletes have been suspended for violating the "Protect Purdue Pledge" by hosting a party over the weekend in a campus residence hall.

The 13 student-athletes -- who were not identified by the school -- were among 14 total students disciplined for the party, which was held Saturday. According to ESPN, the student-athletes don't play for teams that compete in the fall, and they are not members of the men's or women's basketball teams.

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Other winter and spring sports at Purdue include: men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis, baseball, softball, track and field, wrestling and men's and women's swimming and diving.

The "Protect Purdue Pledge" is part of the university's attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on its campus. The initiative prohibits on-campus parties that fail to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

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"This virus continues to be the demise of many universities and academic pursuits," Katie Sermersheim, associate vice provost and dean of students, said in a statement Monday. "The majority of our students are behaving admirably in following the Pledge and helping protect the Purdue community.

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"For that, we are grateful, but we cannot let our guard down and must hold those who violate our community standards accountable."

The school said the suspended students must vacate their residence hall by Wednesday, though they can appeal the suspensions.

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Saturday's party was the second campus incident that led to a large group of suspensions at Purdue. In August, the university suspended 36 individuals in connection with a party. According to the Lafayette Journal and Courier, those students appealed their suspensions and remained at the school.

"On one hand, we are glad to have had only two of this type of incident in six weeks, but we will deal with any such violation with firmness," Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a statement Monday. "The fact that this episode involved student-athletes can make no difference. At Purdue, we have one set of rules for everyone."

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