In a quick and abrupt change of tone, Provost Wendell Pritchett announced on Wednesday that Penn is not ordering students in off-campus housing to move out of their residences. Penn is still strongly encouraging students to move away from campus.
Three days earlier, Pritchett wrote in an email to Penn parents that the University was coordinating with landlords to make off-campus students vacate their residences by March 17.
"We instructed all residents of University housing to leave by Tuesday March 17 and expect off-campus students to vacate their residences by the same time," Pritchett wrote in Sunday's email. "We have communicated Penn’s position to local landlords and asked them to work with their tenants to support this public health necessity."
Prichett's original email was contradicted by landlords and threw students into mass confusion.
When The Daily Pennsylvanian reached out to Campus Apartments and The Radian, two of the largest off-campus landlords, both denied that the University had made any contact regarding moving their students out. Furthermore, the landlords asserted that as private companies, Penn had no jurisdiction over their tenants' residency status.
This morning, Pritchett made no mention of the landlords in an email to Penn students, which was sent to clarify his weekend statement.
"The University is not ordering students who live in private residences to leave, and we regret any confusion about this," Pritchett wrote. "We strongly encourage students who live off-campus to return home if they can."
Pritchett urged students who decided to remain at Penn in their off-campus residences to practice social distancing in order to combat the spread of coronavirus.