They misunderestimated you, norovirus

So it looks like the University won’t be helping students who were infected with the norovirus pay their medical bills. On Monday, VP of Student Affairs Todd Olson also told reporters that the university was unlikely even to reimburse students for their meal plan, which is so not cool.

But as the D.C. Department of Health has said that the source of the norovirus outbreak is yet unknown, this kind of talk out of the University is completely inappropriate. In effect, Georgetown is declaring itself free of blame before the real experts determine if that’s the case.

It also demonstrates an embarrassing inability to learn from mistakes. When Facilities initially refused to clean up norovirus-induced vomit in students’ rooms, it showed not only gross discourtesy but a careless underestimation of the nature of the virus. Without knowing whether the cause of 146 students’ gastroenteritis was contagious, the University should have assumed the worst and taken the necessary precautions, sucked it up, and sent it Facility workers to clean up students’ puke-which turned out to be a health hazard.

That sort of underestimation could be exactly what’s going on here. I’m loathe to think that the outbreak was due to employees lapsing into former hygiene sins in Leo’s kitchens, but if it was, or if the University is at fault in any other way, students should raise a stink.

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