MSU president 'very concerned' students still are packing the bars

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

The world's mostly standing still, but East Lansing bars still are hoppin'.

And that doesn't sit well at all with Michigan State president Samuel L. Stanley, who in an email to students Saturday night let them hear it.

Michigan State has shifted to online courses for the restof the semester.

"I am very concerned and troubled by the photos and media coverage I’ve seen of crowded student lines at local East Lansing bars over the past few days," Stanley said in the email, which also announced that classes would remain online through the end of the semester. "The spread of the novel coronavirus is very serious, and our students need to understand the critical importance of social distancing and how the virus can spread quickly in large crowds.

"I want to remind everyone again, that this is a time for personal responsibility and personal hygiene — make smart decisions to keep yourself healthy and please consider those around you. The university is in constant contact with health and law enforcement officials about how we can prevent the further spread of coronavirus and stop irresponsible behaviors. We need everyone’s cooperation in this crisis."

The global coronavirus pandemic has forced all Michigan public universities to go online with their classes, and has dealt crippling blows to the entertainment and sports industries, among others.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week ordered no public gatherings in excess of 250 people.

But apparently it'll take more than a governor's executive order to keep MSU students away from their favorite watering hole. Social-media posts in recent days have captured photos and videos of extremely long lines to get into several East Lansing bars, including The Riv, Rick's and Harpers, among several others. Before noon Saturday, a line already was dozens deep at The Riv, as students got a head start on celebrating St. Patrick's Day.

The State News, MSU's student newspaper, said bars have taken to offering specials, and some students even showed up at the bar wearing hazmat suits and masks, and holding Corona beers.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984