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State Reps Draw Criticism For Drinking Beer, Not Wearing Masks On UNH Campus

A tweet from UNH faculty member Clark Knowles
Via Twitter

During Wednesday’s legislative session at the University of New Hampshire's Whittemore Center, a handful of state representatives drank beer and did not wear masks outside of the center, despite the town of Durham’s mask mandate.

UNH students and staff have criticized this behavior online.

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At a meeting Thursday with the executive committee of the University System's board of trustees, UNH President Jim Dean said he’s aware that the legislature may want to use the Whittemore Center down the line.

“I don’t think we can have that same behavior in the future,” he said.

House Speaker Steve Shurtleff sent a letter to Dean and other UNH administrators Thursday apologizing for the members’ actions.

“Please know the House takes decorum very seriously, and the actions of a few do not represent the New Hampshire House of Representatives as a whole,” he wrote.

During Thursday’s meeting, Shawn Jasper, former House Speaker and a USNH trustee, added that the representatives were behaving as “juvenile delinquents,” and that he found their actions embarrassing.

Daniela is an editor in NHPR's newsroom. She leads NHPR's Spanish language news initiative, ¿Qué Hay de Nuevo, New Hampshire? and the station's climate change reporting project, By Degrees. You can email her at dallee@nhpr.org.

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