Garnet Pledge Violations Result in Revoked Housing Privileges


A previous version of this article stated that students are not typically entitled to room and board refunds. We have since received more information about the specific treatment of these students from the Office of Student Engagement, and have updated the article accordingly. (September 9, 2020)

A previous version of this article did not elaborate on the Garnet Pledge violation that involves inessential trips, though this detail was included in the quoted email from Vice President Terhune. Appropriate emphasis on this separate violation has now been added to the article. (September 20, 2020)


On Saturday evening, September 5, Public Safety broke up a non-registered party in Mertz Hall. Many of the involved individuals were sophomores. Although the involved individuals have no official student conduct violations, the party was considered by the administration as a violation of the Garnet Pledge, which led to the college revoking housing privileges for a number of students. The Phoenix could not determine how many students were asked to leave campus as a direct result of attending this party, though it should be noted that the Garnet Pledge restricts social gatherings to under 10 people. At least three party-goers are affiliated with an athletic team. Separate to the party that took place in Mertz Hall, at least two students’ housing privileges were revoked because they took an inessential trip off-campus to a major city. In total, eleven students on-campus have had their housing privileges revoked.

The Garnet Pledge’s section on housing violations states that the Office of Student Engagement or the Student Life division may withdraw students’ housing privileges at its own discretion based on student behavior. While the Garnet Pledge states that students are typically not entitled to room and board refunds, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Engagement Rachel Head wrote to The Phoenix that the college is offering a prorated refund on room and board to the aforementioned students.

The Phoenix confirmed that at least three students have vacated their designated residence hall following attendance at the unregistered party. This is also the first instance that The Phoenix has confirmed of students facing serious consequences for Garnet Pledge violations. While students who have lost their housing privileges can continue to take classes at Swarthmore this semester, they cannot live in on-campus housing or participate in on-campus events. 

An email sent to on-campus students from Jim Terhune, Vice President for Student Affairs, at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 9 stated that “While the majority of students are adhering to the Garnet Pledge, unfortunately some have not…Behavior such as hosting and attending parties or taking inessential trips to vacation hotspots or major cities demonstrates a clear disregard not only for the values behind the Garnet Pledge, but for the College’s mission to serve the common good …  such behavior threatens the health and safety of everyone in our community and cannot be tolerated or excused.”

Corrections (published on September 20, 2020):

A previous version of this article incorrectly states that the partygoers violated the alcohol prohibition of the Garnet Pledge. Upon communicating with our original sources, The Phoenix can no longer confirm that alcohol was consumed at the specific location where the party took place. The Phoenix has confirmed, however, that at least one non-alcoholic drinking game was played at this gathering. The college has banned drinking games in general.

Nicole Liu

Nicole Liu '21 grew up in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, but came of age in Boston. She has run out of cool facts about herself. (For more information, consult her bios for the English Liaison Committee, the Writing Center, and maybe the upcoming issue of Small Craft Warnings.)

Anatole Shukla

Anatole Shukla '22 is an Editor Emeritus of The Phoenix. He is from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and studied economics, linguistics, and Russian language while at Swarthmore.


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