nottingham university coronavirus

Nottingham Trent University vice-chancellor warns student Covid-19 rule-breakers could be ‘suspended from their course’

Vice-chancellor Edward Peck has reiterated the hard-line approach that Nottingham Trent University will take against students breaking coronavirus guidelines.

In a joint statement issued by the police, council and universities, NTU’s vice-chancellor revealed students who break the guidelines could be “removed from their accommodation, suspended from their course, and/or with a criminal record”

The address to residents, and students, comes as fears of a second wave in coronavirus cases rise – more than 4,500 students are also set to arrive in the city as they prepare for their studies to continue.

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Public Health data showed an increase of 3,330 cases in the last 24 hours across the UK, rising to 368,504.

It means that there has been 21,352 cases across the past seven days, an increase on the 12,685 positive tests recorded the week prior.

The new ‘Rule of Six’ law is implemented today (September 14), limiting the numbers of people gathering outside or inside at any one time to six.

Under the new rules, people can be fined £100 for flouting the law, increasing to £3,200 for repeat offenders.

There are a handful of exemptions to the rule, which was introduced to simplify police enforcement, including workplaces and education.

Those who break the rules, and law, could however be faced with stern punishment from their university and local authorities.

The Vice-Chancellors of Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham, Professors Shearer West and Edward Peck, said: “This year we recognise that the Coronavirus presents exceptional and individual challenges to every Nottingham citizen and that any incident of antisocial behaviour, such as not respecting the latest Government guidance on social distancing measures, has the potential to put lives at risk.

“All of our students will be required to sign and adhere to updated Codes of Conduct which include these guidelines.

“Where incidents do occur we will be uncompromising in the use of the disciplinary powers available to us.

“This includes, in addition to university procedures, the legal powers available to Community Protection Officers to issue fines, civil injunctions and closure orders.

“In the most serious of cases students can find themselves removed from their accommodation, suspended from their course, and/or with a criminal record.”

Those found guilty of breaking the rules could face fines, loss of tenancy agreements and even lose their university places.

Nottinghamshire Police‘s Assistant Chief Constable, Kate Meynell, said: “The new rules are clear and we all have a personal responsibility for following them to help stop the spread of a deadly virus.

“Police will continue to be in communities and engaging, explaining and encouraging people to follow the new regulations.

“We will desperse groups of over six and issue fines to those who refuse to comply.”

As students begin to return to the city, they are being encouraged to be “good neighbours to those living around them” and ensure they follow the new guidelines.

This includes existing anti-social behaviour rules as well as keeping noise levels to a minimum and not throwing house parties.

Students will receive hand-delivered letters from the police, Nottingham City Council, Broxtowe Borough Council and two universities setting out their expectations to students about being considerate members of the community.

Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: ““We look forward to welcoming students back to our city – but it is important that they understand that we now live in a different world, where Covid-19 is present in our communities.

“Everyone has a part to play to save lives and to stop the spread of this virus – and this includes students.”

He added: “We simply ask our students and young people to be mindful of the communities in which they live, not just in stopping the spread of Covid, but in being good neighbours generally.

“Instances of anti-social behaviour do happen, from loud parties to littering, and we continue to work closely with the universities and landlords to get the message across to students that they have a responsibility to their neighbourhoods.”

By Matt Lee

Lead Image: Olimpia Zagnat / Nottingham Trent University

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