West Virginia Univ. president apologizes for maskless photo

FILE - This is a June 20, 2016, file photo showing West Virginia University president E. Gordon Gee in Morgantown, W.V. The president of West Virginia University released a letter Sunday, March 1, 2020, emphasizing the university's commitment to safety after two recent shootings near the Morgantown campus, one of them involving a fatality.(Mark Shephard/The Dominion Post via AP, File)

MORGANTOWN, WV (AP) — West Virginia University’s president has apologized after a photo posted to social media showed him shopping in a convenience store without a mask on.

The photos of President Gordon Gee were posted to Twitter on Sunday and appeared to show the college leader walking through aisles maskless. In one photo, he could be seen carrying a disposable mask in his hand.

Gee apologized in a statement Sunday, calling it an “error in judgment.”

“As president, I must hold myself to the highest of standards and set the very best example for our University,” Gee wrote in a tweet. “In this instance, I did not do that. As I have asked you to do the right things, so must you expect me to do the same.”

Some West Virginia University students criticized Gee for violating Gov. Jim Justice’s executive order requiring masks be worn in indoor spaces, pointing out that students have been suspended for breaking similar health and safety rules, including 29 members of a fraternity house.

Earlier this month, Justice shut down bars in the college town indefinitely, citing crowds of unmasked students and an increase in positive coronavirus cases.

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