New video emerges as Chapel Hill community concerned about UNC students partying off campus

COVID-19 and schools

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — The number of COVID-19 cases at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill continues to soar as the total count among students and employees has now reached nearly 1,000 since the pandemic started.

Late Thursday, UNC officials also reported the twelfth cluster of COVID-19 cases at Cobb Residence Hall on campus and there are now 945 people who have tested positive for the disease.

The new COVID-19 numbers come days after Chapel Hill Police broke up two large parties off campus.

According to police reports, authorities responded to at least two large gatherings — one at a private a home and the other at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house on South Columbia Street.

CBS 17 obtained an email from the city of Chapel Hill sent from Police Chief Chris Blue to the town manager Maurice Jones on Tuesday about the two parties.

The email said that at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house there was loud music and that officers had a hard time contacting someone inside the party because the “windows and doors were covered in black plastic.”

Blue said in the email that there were about 50 people at the party.

Two people from the party were eventually cited for violating the state’s order.

CBS 17 reached out to the Phi Delta Theta fraternity to get their side of what happened, but we are still waiting to hear back.

The other party was at a private residence on Church Street.

Officers were called to investigate a loud party there and when they got there they saw a number of people inside not wearing masks and most were not social distancing. 

Once the people at the party saw the officers, Blue said many of the attendees began to leave the house through the back door.

Authorities cited two people at that party on Monday.

On Wednesday night, Chapel Hill resident Jackson Hicks captured video of a group of about 25 people on board a party bus, and he said many of them were not wearing masks.

“When you see people being reckless like this, it’s just kind of scary thinking about the impact that you can have on the wider community,” Hicks said.

While its unknown if the party bus was related to the Greek community at UNC, some are questioning why fraternities and sororities are still in operation while students living on campus are all being asked to leave.

“If you could really trust them to do the right thing and be mature about it, you might be able to work something out,” said Tracy Harter, a UNC housekeeper and concerned community member. “But seeing as how they don’t and they already have proven themselves to be a untrustworthy, I think the safest thing for them to do is to shut them down.”

The university would not tell CBS 17 if there are plans to shut down Greek life at UNC, but they said members of the offices of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Student Conduct are currently in contact with the organization involved in the recent fraternity house party.

UNC officials said both chapters and individuals are subject to administrative and/or disciplinary action by the university. The university said it does not comment on administrative or disciplinary actions prior to their conclusion.  

UNC officials said they take reports of violations of the executive orders and the University’s Community Standards very seriously and they investigate and pursue every incident as appropriate.  

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