Hundreds of people packed together to watch Saturday’s Penn State football game in the courtyard of an off-campus apartment building in State College, and evidently it wasn’t a masked ball.
Video taken by a resident of the RISE at State College apartment building, where the party was held, showed what appeared to be a mostly mask-less crowd making no effort to be socially distant.
More than 200 people had gathered for the game, State College police said. Most people dispersed after police arrived, police said, adding that it was one of several off-campus parties police broke up on Saturday. It was by far the largest.
John Auerbach, a sophomore from Connecticut and resident of the building, said he could hear and see the crowd from his apartment, which faces the courtyard. He was disappointed in his classmates.
“I find it interesting, because they kinda expect to party and do all that stuff and expect people with preexisting conditions to stay inside," he said. "And I think that’s selfish and unfair.”
Penn State prohibits large gatherings. After students partied outside freshmen residence halls during move-in week in August, university president Eric Barron said the school could be forced to end in-person classes if students continued to gather in large groups. Large parties, especially those off-campus, have continued.
Saturday’s football game was Penn State’s season opener. State College police Sgt. Ted Hubler said the nice weather also was a factor encouraging people to party. He said the department will have extra patrols on game days. The school is preparing for its first home game against Ohio State on Oct. 31.
Auerbach said people he knew who attended the gathering Saturday did not live in the apartment building.
He said he’s been careful, inviting two or three friends over his apartment at a time. But now the pandemic has literally hit home. He is living in his apartment’s living room, because two of his roommates have tested positive for COVID-19 and are quarantining in bedrooms.