Breaking News: Hundreds of Maskless Students Crowd Greek Life Party

Screenshot of hundreds of students crowded in front of Graham Center in an Instagram video posted by @CampusLifeFIU. Jesse Fraga / PantherNOW

Jesse Fraga / News Director

Hundreds of FIU students gathered for a crammed party on campus as the Delta variant surges through the county. No masks or social distancing were in sight.

The Annual Greek Barbeque, organized by FIU’s Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) office, came just one day after a press conference where University and Miami-Dade County officials urged students to take caution against the virus.

“When the students lead, everybody else pays attention,”

said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava at the conference on Tuesday. 

Instagram videos by @CampusLifeFIU and @FIUFSL show the congested crowd of party-goers at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday Aug. 25, dancing side-by-side to Greek Life chants, rap music and dubstep mixes.

PantherNOW reached out to Cava, FIU Greek Life, FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg and Media Relations in regards to the event, but has not yet received a response.

FSL’s mission is “to create a safe and educational environment,” however no COVID precautions were taken during the event.

FIU suggests wearing masks inside, but none were worn at the event held outside of the Graham Center on the Modesto Maidique Campus.

“We’re doing better in Miami-Dade County than the rest of the state of Florida, and that is because of the responsibility that is taken by institutions like FIU,” said Cava.

A day before the barbeque, Florida reported 26,203 new COVID cases, the highest in a single day for the state, according to the latest report by the CDC COVID Data Tracker.

The Greek Life party was postponed for a year during the pandemic, but day three back on campus did not uphold FIU’s recommendations to stop the virus.

“FIU is a big proponent of masks and vaccines,” said SGA President Alexander Rubido during the press conference. “As students, we want to encourage all of the other students… to get the vaccine, wear the mask indoors and do [their] part to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

COVID cases are rising in Miami-Dade County as more than 10,000 were reported between Aug. 18 and 24.

Screenshot of @FIUFSL Instagram flyer for Greek Barbeque. Jesse Fraga / PantherNOW

FIU does not require masks since the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees public state universities, has prohibited them from mandating masks or COVID vaccines. Some private universities such as the University of Miami enacted an outdoor mask mandate.

A group of five FIU faculty members recently signed a letter in support of mask mandates at Florida universities.

Rosenberg also emphasized the importance of masks and vaccines to limit the spread of the Delta variant.

“We are here because we are paying great attention to the challenges presented to the deadly Delta virus,” said Rosenberg at the press conference. “Clearly we understand that wearing a mask is the best way to stop the spread.”

The story will be updated as more information is found.