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An NYU student lost her bid to finish out the semester after getting suspended for attending a boat party where coronavirus rules weren’t being followed, a judge ruled Monday.
Freshman Nicole Rosenberg sued the university last week, claiming that it unfairly suspended her for the remainder of the fall semester for attending a boat party that she didn’t know ahead of time wouldn’t be enforcing COVID guidelines.
“There is one week left of class. [Rosenberg] has been out for 2½ weeks and she needs to return to class in order that she does not lose the ¾ of the semester that she has done,” Rosenberg’s lawyer Karen Edler argued during a Manhattan Supreme Court video hearing Monday.
“Pending the decision, harm is immediate and it is irreparable,” Edler told the judge.
But granting the stay “undermines NYU’s ability to enforce its policy strictly and NYU is enforcing its policy strictly here because it’s trying to keep the university community healthy … and to keep being able to have on-campus classes,” NYU lawyer Ira Feinberg responded later in the hearing.
Justice Carol Edmead denied Rosenberg’s emergency request to allow her to finish the last week of classes since the judge found her lawsuit wasn’t likely to succeed.
“The court is denying an application for an interim stay,” Edmead said. “The court’s view is that the lack of the ability of the petitioner to show likelihood of success on the merits outweighs the irreparable harm factor.”
“There are six days left in the semester … that we are talking about loss of school time,” Edmead said adding that she plans to rule on the entire case very quickly.
The 18-year-old claimed that she attended the 21-and-over Oct. 15 boat ride only after her two friends she attended with told her the ride would be following mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines.
By the time Rosenberg realized people weren’t following COVID rules on the lower level of the boat, it was too late for her to get off, so she and her two friends stayed on the upper level, where they maintained distancing from others and wore masks.
But NYU said it didn’t buy Rosenberg’s story that she really believed the boat party would be following pandemic guidelines for a slew of reasons including that the cruise wasn’t starting until 10:30 at night, it was leaving from a secret port and it would have DJs on board playing music.
“The notion that they expected a sedate socially distanced cruise around Manhattan is, to our point of view, not credible,” Feinberg said earlier in the hearing.
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