“I knew they were having a party,” insisted Letale. “Why else would they have their hands up?”
Photo by Jack Yang
Resident Advisor Tad Letale recounted his most recent bust, the latest tale in his storied history of apprehending students: “It was at about 5:00 p.m. last Thursday afternoon. I was passing Center Hall when I noticed suspicious behavior centered about the entrance to one of the lecture halls. I hid in the bushes outside the door until I saw a group of students walking into the room and heard a multitude of voices coming from inside, prompting me to investigate and break up the suspected party. When I opened the door, boom … the big score. I found 148 students — none of whom were socially distanced — and even a professor packed into the room.”
Despite the crowd, the gathering’s resemblance to a party was minimal. “Everybody was blearily staring at a projector screen, and a professor was the only person talking.” said Letale. “No music or refreshments either. I read about parties in a book once, so I know they were definitely partying right before I barged in. The dead eyes of everyone, the professor rambling on … these are telltale signs.”
Students were equally perplexed by the situation. Those in the lecture hall pleaded “not guilty” to Letale’s accusations of violating the university’s no-guest policy, insisting that they were simply attending their CSE 8B lecture. It was later confirmed by multiple faculty members that the students had been telling the truth about the lecture, and were not in fact violating COVID safety protocols. UCSD administrators dusted off and consulted the ancient scrolls upon which their COVID guidelines were written and found that the texts considered having guests in a residence to be an unacceptable risk, corroborating Letale’s claims. However, the scrolls had little to say on the matter of gatherings in lecture halls. The only mention of which is the exemption of students and faculty from all COVID safety procedures except wearing a mask while in lecture halls found in the “We Want Your Goddamn Housing Money so We’re Doing In-Person Lectures” clause.
In an interview, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Ira Nichols said, “The scrolls were written so long ago we can hardly remember what we wrote or why. Some parts have been sealed off since long before my time so we don’t even know what those guidelines are. Something about a ‘Phase Three,’ I think. For a while I thought we only had Phase One.”
Over the weekend, administrators emailed a formal apology to those students who were affected by the disruption, and all the allegations of misconduct were waived. The email also included reminders on current COVID-19 protocols. Nichols wished to remind students that “With student health and well-being our number one priority, the guest policy is something UCSD takes very seriously. By having guests in your assigned living spaces, you increase the risk of spreading coronavirus. We ask that you limit your indoor socialization to the lecture halls and indoor dining areas where, even with hundreds indoors, coronavirus has no chance of spreading whatsoever.”