ANDOVER (CBS) – Andover parents Kristin and Scott are speaking out on behalf of their daughter. She along with two of her friends are freshmen at UMass Amherst. A picture posted on social media of the three friends not wearing masks outside was handed over to the university and that has landed them in serious trouble.
“There was a photo sent to the administration of these girls outside off campus on a Saturday. This is why they lost a whole semester of their schooling,” Kristin said.
Teresa and RJ’s daughter was also suspended. “She was valedictorian and class president of her high school. She did everything right,” RJ said.
Students on campus say the rules have been tight this year but for good reason. “Maybe a little harsh but like I understand it because you’re not supposed to be doing that,” one student told WBZ Friday night.
“The town of Amherst made it really clear they don’t want any big parties,” another student said.
What also infuriates the parents of the suspended students was video of the UMass Amherst Hockey Team celebrating their national championship on campus. Some students, including some of the players, could be seen not wearing masks.
“I just want the university administration to be equitable and fair,” RJ said.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Teresa said.
Since their suspension, the students have been studying remotely at their homes. However, last week they were cut off from virtual learning. They were not allowed to take their finals, so parents say their kids’ semester was a total loss, both financially and academically.
“That negates this whole semester $16,000 of money and they have to reapply for next semester. But they missed housing registration,” Scott said.
UMass Amherst released a statement saying: “Students received a number of public health messages this semester that emphasized the importance of following public health protocols and the consequences for not complying, and those messages were also shared on UMass social media channels.”
The parents disagree with the university’s decision. “One little thing happens and you’re out? Like not even like a don’t do it again, here’s some probation,” Teresa said.
“So for this to happen it’s been devastating,” Kristin said.
The families have hired a lawyer and plan to file a lawsuit.