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Change.org petition to lift Bradley restrictions reaches over 800 signatures

A screenshot of the change.org petition taken on Thursday, Sept. 24.

A Change.org petition entitled “Bradley University to lift extreme restrictions on student body,” is attracting attention on social media following president Stephen Standifird’s announcement Monday that many quarantine restrictions will remain for the rest of the semester.

As of Thursday evening, the petition has over 800 signatures. There is no way to determine how many of these signatures are from staff, faculty, students or family members. Sophomore health science major Lexie Rothchild started the petition.

“Before I made [the petition] I talked to friends, I talked to family members, I talked to people at other colleges about it, and they couldn’t quite wrap their heads around why it’s so extreme,” Rothchild said.

According to university guidelines as of Monday, students are not allowed to dine in at off-campus eating establishments or visit drinking establishments, off-campus residences or gatherings larger than three (other than roommates) for the rest of the semester.

Rothchild said she believes these rules are especially extreme because they go beyond Illinois’ phase 4 mitigation plan community guidelines, which allow gatherings of up to 50 with social distancing.

“We should still be allowed to see friends,” Rothchild said. “Study groups are very important to college life. For mental health, we need in-person social interaction.”

Many students and parents who commented on the petition feel similarly, commenting that they chose an on-campus education for academic, mental health and social reasons.

“The mental health of students has been completely neglected in these mandatory guidelines created by Bradley,” commented senior education major Angelique Garro on the petition, which received 33 likes.

While there was no response from the university about the petition directly, Standifird sent out another email Wednesday afternoon with the intention to clarify the campus restrictions.

It noted that activities such as going outside, exercising or eating lunch with “a friend or two” were examples of allowed behavior.

“I have gotten feedback from a number of you concerning your frustration with the ongoing social interaction restrictions,” Standifird said. “I understand your frustrations. This is not the experience any of us were anticipating when making the decision to join the Bradley community.”

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