Just days before classes were to start 15 Marist students have been suspended for breaking COVID-19 rules.

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Marist College President Dennis J. Murray says the 15 students were suspended for not following the college's COVID-19 guidelines at an off-campus party. He warns he may have forced to cancel in-person classes.

"If this trend continues, we’ll have no choice but to completely close the campus and require students to finish the semester online. None of us wants this outcome to occur, so please help us to ensure it doesn’t happen," Murray said in a letter to Marist students.

In-person classes are scheduled to resume at Marist on Monday. Classes will be held on Saturdays and Labor Day to help shorten the length of the fall semester. The usual mid-semester break is also canceled and students were told to stay in Poughkeepsie. In-person classes are scheduled to end prior to Thanksgiving with the rest of the semester being held online.

In his letter to students, Murray notes how other colleges have been forced to switch to online learning due to the actions of students.

"Whether Marist is able to stay open is now in your hands," Murray wrote. "I’m sure you’ve read, many colleges across the country that had planned to open have now been forced to close and go online because of the reckless and selfish behavior of their students. Ultimately, I hope that what motivates you to comply with our health and safety rules isn’t the threat of punishment, but rather your respect for others and concern for the common good. Please don’t be a knucklehead who disregards the safety of others and puts our ability to remain on campus at risk."

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