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Covid-19: Coventry University student flats partygoers flout rules

Covid-19: Coventry University student flats partygoers flout rules
media captionCoventry University students’ gathering

Up to 200 people gathered for a party at a university student hall, flouting coronavirus restrictions.

Police said officers attended accommodation at Coventry University in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Officers have worked with the management of Arundel House to close some communal areas and increase security, West Midlands Police said.

The university is “deeply concerned” over a video of the party and condemned the “blatant breaches” of rules.

Footage from private accommodation on Whitefriars Lane emerged on social media showing a large group of people who were apparently not adhering to social distancing rules.

Current government guidance states that only groups of six people or fewer are allowed to meet and students have been told they must limit socialising, staying within separate “households” and be taught in managed groups.

The university said it “strongly condemns the blatant breaches of the rule of six and other guidelines as they risk the health of our students, colleagues and the communities in which we are located”.

image captionCoventry University “strongly condemned” footage showing a party in a common room at a hall of residence

Ian Dunn, the university’s Provost, described the footage as “outrageous and deeply unfair”.

He told the BBC the university was taking the incident “very seriously” and he was confident its code of conduct had been breached.

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionThe university said most of its students were behaving “so responsibly”

West Midlands Police said it will be examining CCTV and will take action if it comes to light that it was a planned party.

The university’s vice-chancellor, Professor John Latham, said many students are “not very happy with their peers”.

“We do know that some of the individuals involved in the party were students of the university, we know that many of them were also not students of the university,” he added.

Mr Latham said the university is working with the police on its investigation, and running its own investigation, to find the individuals involved and will be enacting its disciplinary process to look at possible suspensions or expulsions.

The president of the National Union of Students Larissa Kennedy said the union was encouraging students to follow public health guidance, but more needed to be done to support them.

“What I think we’re seeing is students in really vulnerable situations where they’re often isolated, being encouraged to have no human contact, and this is a really difficult time,” she said.

“So where there isn’t the right kind of resources in place, a minority may be resorting to breaking the rules.”

Police said officers were examining CCTV of the gathering and “will take action if evidence comes to light that this was a planned party”.

Nido, which runs the hall, said it had restricted visitors to the building and stepped up security following the gathering.

“We do not want the actions of a few to affect the experience of many,” a spokesperson said.

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