Coronavirus

DU Swim Team Members Bounced Over Unsafe Gathering Still Partying?

In late September, the University of Denver suspended 38 members of the men's and women's swimming and diving team for attending what was described as "a large off-campus party."
In late September, the University of Denver suspended 38 members of the men's and women's swimming and diving team for attending what was described as "a large off-campus party." denverpioneers.com
Late last month, 38 members of the University of Denver swimming and diving crew were suspended from team activities through the fall quarter for allegedly attending a large party in violation of COVID-19 safety protocols. But a source tells Westword that some of these athletes have continued throwing bashes so large and boisterous that the Denver Police Department has been notified.

The DPD says it has received such complaints but is unable to confirm whether the incidents involved DU students, let alone swimmers or divers. The university can't verify that, either, but a statement provided to Westword contains heavy threats against anyone who might engage in such activities.

Meanwhile, the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment reveals that it has imposed quarantines on seven DU Greek houses and hit one sorority with a criminal summons over a get-together that is said to have included several people with the virus.

The October 7 outbreaks report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment listed a dozen sites affiliated with the University of Denver. However, the department consolidated these items for its October 14 update under a single heading: "University of Denver Community Outbreak." By this week, DU had registered seven positive staff cases and 210 student cases.

Nonetheless, parties have raged on nearly every night at a home said to be occupied by swim team members, necessitating calls to the cops, our source says.

A Denver Police spokesperson, corresponding via email, points out that the contacts "were mainly in reference to reports of people not wearing masks at suspected gatherings and/or parties. DPD did not cite anyone, gave warnings, and referred to DDPHE as needed."

The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment has certainly been busy dealing with problems at DU. Here's a DDPHE list of quarantine orders against Greek houses affiliated with the university, along with the number of infected individuals at each.
Sorority outbreaks:

Alpha Phi — 9 positives; quarantine orders until 10/21
Gamma Phi Beta — 4 positives; quarantine orders lifted 9/30
Delta Zeta — 4 positives; quarantine orders lifted 10/14

Fraternity outbreaks:

Zeta Beta Tau — 11 positives; quarantine orders lifted 10/14
Beta Theta Pi — 4 positives; quarantine orders until 10/16
Lambda Chi Alpha — 15 positives; quarantine orders until 10/19
Pi Kappa Phi — 6 positives; quarantine orders until 10/19
A DDPHE representative adds that the department "has issued a single criminal summons to Alpha Phi and posted a [closure] placard on the front entrance to the sorority because of evidence of a gathering at the home without proper social distancing and multiple infectious COVID-19 individuals in attendance."

This is not the kind of publicity the University of Denver prizes. Here's its response to Westword's questions about the swimming-and-diving team claims:

"Allegations of students violating state and local public health ordinances, as well as University COVID protocols regarding gatherings, are taken very seriously. These allegations are investigated thoroughly by Student Rights and Responsibilities for possible disciplinary action, which may include suspension from the University. We will continue to swiftly pursue disciplinary action against any members within our community who do not follow measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19."
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts