EWU prepared to fine students found violating pandemic protocols, but hopes not to

CHENEY, Wash. — Eastern Washington University is prepared to fine students found violating pandemic protocols, but only as a last resort.

Students are set to return to EWU next week and the university, as well as the City of Cheney, want them to be serious about COVID-19.

The university hopes students will wear masks, remain socially distant and comply with other protocols in place. The goal is to educate students, with citations being issued only as a last resort.

Cheney Police say they do not expect to issue citations or make arrests unless people are blatantly disregarding protocols and putting people in danger.

“Our shared intent is not to infringe on anyone’s rights, but to stop the spread of the virus and to help ensure the health and safety of persons in our community, to prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed and as a means to re-opening our businesses and educational institutions to unrestricted, in-person patronage and/or attendance,” EWU and the city said in a joint statement. 

Cheney and campus police officers will issue warnings to people who do not comply—the goal is to leave things there. If those warnings are not effective in changing behaviors, officers could write up to $100 tickets to those found violating the recommendations of local health officials.

A similar tactic has already been implemented in Pullman. As of Wednesday morning, the Pullman Police Department has issued 18 tickets to people hosting parties and violating state mandates. The City Council recently updated its city code to now include fines for party goers found out of compliance.

RELATED: Pullman partygoers can now face fines for violating pandemic restrictions