The Collegian
Tuesday, October 26, 2021

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Governor's curfew has little effect on UR

<p>A police cruiser for the University of Richmond Police Department, who will not be specifically targeting curfew breakers, said Dave McCoy, UR chief of police.</p>

A police cruiser for the University of Richmond Police Department, who will not be specifically targeting curfew breakers, said Dave McCoy, UR chief of police.

Virginia is under a statewide curfew until the end of February, however the curfew has changed little about University of Richmond campus life.

On Jan. 27, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam extended Executive Order 72, which imposed the statewide 12 to 5 a.m. curfew. The executive order first went into effect on Dec. 14.

Joe Boehman, dean of Richmond College, said there would not be any deliberate enforcement of the curfew on UR’s campus. 

“I’m not aware of any specific enforcement [of the curfew on] folks going out after midnight,” Boehman said. 

The Richmond College administration has also not received any complaints from the student body, and is not aware of any student groups that have been affected by the curfew, Boehman said. 

“Our physical distancing framework follows the governor’s mandate,” Boehman said. “We’re in the Enhanced Red Stage so we’re following that. I just imagine that students are following the protocols.” 

The executive order that introduced the curfew has a host of exceptions, including transportation to and from work, getting food, religious activities and traveling to and from an educational institution. The Richmond City Police is not conducting traffic stops to enforce the curfew, according to a Richmond-Times Dispatch report from December, when the executive order was put in effect.

The University of Richmond Police Department will also not be targeting curfew breakers, Dave McCoy, UR chief of police, said.

“URPD is aligned with our fellow colleagues in the region, and we do not purposely stop vehicles for the purpose of the executive order,” McCoy said. 

The URPD needs to abide by probable cause to pull cars over, and there are too many exceptions to the curfew to randomly stop cars, he said. 

“Our goal is to look at the intent of what the executive order is supposed to do, and that’s to stop the spread of this virus and get the state healthy,” McCoy said.

McCoy noted certain situations in which the curfew would be enforced, such as “large party gatherings.”

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“We know [those] could spread the virus,” McCoy said. “We know it’s a violation of the integrity of the executive order. For situations like that, upon the discretion of the officer … there’s a strong possibility it will be referred to conduct violations with the university.”

If caught hosting a large gathering, students are liable through UR’s arbitration process as well as the criminal charge of violating the executive order.

A student pulled over for an initial offense, like speeding, in which the curfew is also broken could result in multiple criminal charges, McCoy said. 

As of Feb. 4, URPD had not received any complaints from the student body about the curfew, McCoy said.

Contact contributor Staton Whaley at staton.whaley@richmond.edu.

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