Words by Kiran Sokhi
Students of the University of Sussex have been evicted from on-campus accommodation as a consequence of breaching Covid-19 restrictions for instance by throwing parties in halls of residence.
This action has been enforced after over 100 residents broke the government guidelines to stay home after attending a party on campus on January 9.
This is just one of the many incidents over Halloween and new years where students and residents have breached the Covid- 19 rules to prevent the spread of the virus. Videos and photos were shared on social media showing mass gatherings of people being broken up by Sussex police.
Further implementation of Covid rules by the government have been ignored by residents that were put in place to reduce the risk of spreading the new strain of the virus that is more transmissible. In a leaflet sent to on campus residents, Sussex police and university stated ‘‘This means not having parties or gatherings. This is the law. It’s to save lives.”
An email was sent out on the 11 January by Student communications to warn students about the consequences of breaking coronavirus laws on campus. It reads:
“As a reminder, everyone must stay at home (unless for essential reasons and exercise), and different households must not mix.”
“Unfortunately, this weekend a number of students chose to break these rules by having gatherings in residences with people from outside their household bubbles – this resulted in the Police attending campus. Such activity is completely unacceptable and the Police are likely to investigate those who broke the law and issue fines.”
“Additionally, students who host or participate in gatherings in residences will be subject to University disciplinary procedures. The outcome of procedures could lead to a student being unable to continue their studies and/or unable to continue staying in University accommodation and face financial penalties.”
A second email was sent on the 14 January outlining:
“Every unnecessary contact – be that through a coffee date, party or travelling when not required – is another possible life lost. So we implore you now, make good choices and help us to keep Sussex safe.”
In addition to the emails, further implementation was enforced by a leaflet that was sent to all on-campus residents by the university and Sussex police which stressed that “the actions of a small group of students must stop” in order to keep the community safe and protected.
This was followed by a formal letter enforcing the seriousness of breaching Covid-19 measures which may lead to students being dismissed by the University as well as evicted. The letter stated:
“We will not tolerate repeats of the recent serious breaches in our residences, where gatherings have been held.”
“We have now taken action to evict students who are identified as breaching the government guidelines and the law.”
On Tuesday 26 the University of Sussex students union posted to their Facebook questioning students about the level of involvement enforced by the police on campus:
“Police and campus security have had to respond to illegal gatherings on campus numerous times over this academic year. However, after receiving several reports from students we are concerned that they may be overstepping their bounds in some cases.”
Have campus security or police entered your flat without cause?
Have you been stopped on campus by security or police without cause?
Please let us know of any concerning and/or unprovoked dealings with security or police.”
In addition to this information, the University issued a statement to The Badger stating:
“The University thanks the majority of students who continue to abide by the law and follow Covid rules, which are in place to reduce the spread of the virus to each other and in the wider community.”
“However, a minority of student residents have broken the law and not followed Covid rules by holding parties and gatherings in University accommodation.”
“We have informed all students with University accommodation to ensure that those who do break the law are aware of the implications. As well as receiving a significant Police fine, they could face University disciplinary proceedings; and in the oat serious situations potential eviction from their stunt residence.”
“Students who break the Covid laws and rules aren’t just putting themselves and others at risk of contracting the virus, their actions may also impact some of the most vulnerable people in our community who need help from the Police.”
“The University is currently undergoing disciplinary procedure with a number of students and it wouldn’t be appropriate to share details, due to confidentiality reasons.”
Picture Credit: University of Sussex