Outrage has spread across Northampton University as it emerged that students have been subjected to Breathalyser tests. Lecturers are insisting that acting students take a Breathalyser test on Wednesday mornings and are denied access to class if they “fail”. Such testing has been introduced across acting courses, in order to treat students “equally”, due to the perceived need to protect those engaging in Stage Combat practicals.
However, in a shock move, acting students actually supported the testing and in an act of solidarity towards their tutors cited the “skills” that they bring to the course as more important to their education than resisting such tests.
Even so, the Student Union is questioning the legibility of Breathalyser tests and whether tutors have the right to deny fee-paying students entry to class if tests show positive.
Northampton Student Union President, Matt Storr believes the procedure to be illegal under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act and said in a letter to the Vice-Chancellor, “the position of the Student Union is to act in the best interests of the students, who should obviously not be subjected to a Breathalyser test”. He stated that the NSU was not consulted over the decision to test students and it is unclear whether this was outlined to students in the course guidelines. The VC has yet to comment.