Purdue suspends 13 in non-fall sports for residence hall party

Thirteen Purdue athletes have been suspended for violating the "Protect Purdue Pledge" by holding a party Saturday in a campus residence hall, the university announced Monday.

The 13 athletes, who are not being identified, are among 14 total students suspended for the party. The athletes do not play for teams that compete in the fall, Purdue's athletic department confirmed in a statement. A source said they are not members of the men's or women's basketball teams. Other winter and spring sports at Purdue include men's and women's golf, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's tennis, track and field, softball, baseball and wrestling.

The Protect Purdue Pledge, part of the school's attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, prohibits on-campus parties at which those present are not adhering to social distancing guidelines.

The suspended students must vacate their residence hall by Wednesday, though they may appeal the suspensions. Katie Sermersheim, associate vice provost and dean of students, issued the suspensions after university residence staff discovered the party.

In a statement to ESPN, Purdue said, "The university will process the appeals of the summary suspensions expeditiously. We will not be providing details regarding individual disciplinary outcomes. Each case will be resolved in a manner that meets the objectives of (1) protecting the health & safety of the campus community and (2) educating students on how to effectively adhere to the Protect Purdue Pledge."

Purdue's athletic department also issued a statement, saying that it is aware of the incident "involving 13 out-of-season student-athletes."

"Our student-athletes, coaches and staff remain committed to following the guidelines of the Protect Purdue Pledge, and have been working with the university throughout this process," the statement reads. "While this is an unfortunate occurrence, we hope it's instructive for all Boilermaker students and reinforces the importance of protecting everyone on campus during this time."

Saturday's party is the second campus incident to trigger a large group of suspensions at Purdue, which suspended 36 people in connection with a party in August. The Journal and Courier of Lafayette, Indiana, reported that those students appealed their suspensions and remained in school.

"On one hand, we are glad to have had only two of this type of incident in six weeks," university president Mitch Daniels said in a statement, "but we will deal with any such violation with firmness. The fact that this episode involved student-athletes can make no difference. At Purdue, we have one set of rules for everyone."