“Do you really want to be the reason that Tulane and New Orleans have to shut down again?” That was the question that Erica Woodley, the dean of students at Tulane University, posed in a July 7 email scolding students for their “disrespectful, selfish and dangerous” partying during the Fourth of July weekend. “This type of behavior is indefensible and truly shameful,” she admonished. Woodley went on to warn—in bold and all caps—that students who hosted gatherings with more than 15 people would face dire punishment: suspension or expulsion…

Despite serious public-health concerns, Tulane and other campuses are slated to reopen for in-person instruction in the fall. Students will get infected, and universities will rebuke them for it; campuses will close, and students will be blamed for it. Relying on the self-control of young adults, rather than deploying the public-health infrastructure needed to control a disease that spreads easily among people who live, eat, study, and socialize together, is not a safe reopening strategy—and yelling at students for their dangerous behavior won’t help either.

Tulane officials are only saying what their counterparts on other campuses appear to be thinking.