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Joint Statement from President John Keenan and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll Regarding Two Unrelated Off-Campus Incidents on September 25

It has come to our attention that last night, on Friday, September 25th, Salem Police responded to two unrelated incidents involving gatherings where some Salem State University students were present in violation of current public health guidelines. In addition to violating rules regarding large gatherings, there was also conduct involved in both incidents that led to arrests. In each case, the Salem Police Department and City officials are working closely with Salem State Police and university officials to identify as many responsible parties as possible and ensure they face the appropriate consequences, both on- and off-campus.  

In the first incident, police broke up a gathering of over 50 people at an apartment on Becket Street. One individual, who is not a SSU student, was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The property owner will be cited by the Salem Police Department for keeping a disorderly house. Additionally, as the gathering violated public health orders, those in attendance who can be identified will be issued citations from Salem public health officials.  

Any current Salem State students who are identified as having attended the gathering will also face additional disciplinary consequences from the university. All individuals who attended this gathering, whether identified or not, are strongly encouraged to get a free COVID-19 test, either through SSU if they are a university student or through the City's free "Stop the Spread" testing at Salem High School.  

In the second incident, a SSU student was arrested and charged with burning personal property, vandalism, and destruction of property over $1200 in connection with damage done to the playground equipment at Pickman Park. Two other Salem State students brought the incident to the attention of SSU Police who then informed the Salem Police Department, which led to the arrest. The investigation and identification of other people present, as well as their involvement, is ongoing.  

We are issuing this joint statement to keep community members informed about these activities and to assure you that City and university leaders take seriously the public health concerns such incidents raise. Those responsible in both instances will be held accountable to the greatest extent possible under the law and under the university's disciplinary policies. We believe it is important that City and university officials work together to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our community.

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