cal-students-use-social-media-to-call-out-people-failing-to-follow-pandemic-safety-rules

The city of Berkeley is considering a new proposal to fine people $100 if they are caught not wearing a face mask in public or refusing to follow social distancing rules.

Some UC Berkeley students are not waiting for the city to crack down on social gatherings — they’re calling out other students on social media and accusing them of throwing unsafe parties during the pandemic.

“It’s hard because we are in Greek life, so we know what it’s like to be social, but we’re choosing not to be,” UC Berkeley student Rebecca Smith said.

Smith looks back on when she first became a member of her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. Now the pandemic has altered life on campus, restricting what she can do and who she is around.

“My house is committed to being really safe,” Smith said.

Greek life has changed so much the university has banned student organizations from hosting in-person meetings and events.

Smith said this year’s recruitment was done all through Zoom.

But not everyone seems to be following the rules. Smith recorded video on Friday while she was driving through campus that shows many not wearing masks and big groups of people seen walking into fraternity houses.

Someone went as far as creating an Instagram account that catches Cal students not social distancing.

“If there is an outbreak, then we are going to be to blame and like that is really disappointing because there is already a lot of stigma about Greek life,” Smith said.

Berkeley city officials report seven people are getting infected with COVID-19 daily.

A university spokesperson said this semester they have received 24 reports of COVID-related violations allegedly happening on and off campus. The spokesperson also provided the following statement:

“Our sincere hope is that our educational campaigns to the campus community will help limit large gatherings, but we all need to work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

On Tuesday, the Berkeley City Council will discuss an ordinance that will fine people who violate the city’s mask and social distancing mandates $100, with penalties increasing for repeat violations.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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