The MBA program at Cornell University will move fully online for at least a week following a Covid-19 outbreak tied to a St. Patrick’s Day party held by Johnson School of Management graduate students.
Cornell recorded 63 cases in three days — most of which were students in the Johnson MBA program — according to a letter last week from Cornell President Martha Pollack and Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff to the entire university community. Pollack and Kotlikoff wrote that a university investigation following a party on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, revealed the MBA students in attendance “did not adhere to the critical masking and social-distancing measures that are required by the behavioral compact.”
“It has been one week since a concerning increase in Covid-19 infections among our student population led us to elevate the Ithaca campus alert level to Yellow,” Pollack and Kotlikoff wrote March 26. “After an initial few days of lower case totals, we have once again seen a significant increase in student infections — 63 over the last three days, most of which are among our MBA graduate students.
“The analysis by our Covid response officials attribute this outbreak to at least two St. Patrick’s Day social gatherings where large numbers of MBA students did not adhere to the critical masking and social-distancing measures that are required by the Behavioral Compact.”
SCHOOL WILL TAKE DISCIPLINARY MEASURES TO STUDENTS VIOLATING ‘BEHAVIORAL COMPACT’
Even with the MBA program moving to a virtual format, Pollack and Kotlikoff wrote that students are expected to stay in their current living situations and only leave for food or testing. Students are expected to get tested every other day and adhere to contact tracing practices as well as requests to quarantine.
The school is also making efforts to test non-Cornell students living in the same off-campus residential complex as the MBA students.
Pollack and Kotlikoff reiterated that the university takes violations of the Behavioral Compact seriously.
“Students found to be in violation of the compact will face disciplinary measures which can result in sanctions up to and including dismissal from the university,” they wrote.
CORNELL MBAs JOIN OTHER TOP PROGRAMS IN HALL OF COVID SHAME
Despite vaccines beginning to be distributed and cases and hospitalizations from coronavirus decreasing recently, Cornell’s MBA program joins a growing list of top-MBA programs in the U.S. to be temporarily shut down after large social gatherings and parties.
Last November, Columbia disciplined 70 MBA students for violating campus coronavirus rules. Around the same time, a surge at Harvard Business School forced MBA classes to move online.
The closings and moving classes to online-only have also come with pushback from MBA students. Students from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management pushed back on the school’s decision to move the vast majority of courses to a hybrid and online format this spring.