Students who flout coronavirus restrictions should be kicked out of their universities as a ‘strong deterrent’ to others, a police chief has said.
Chief Constable Craig Guildford, of Nottinghamshire Police, called for the crackdown on rule breakers after his officers were forced to hand out dozens of fines to partying undergraduates last weekend.
He said the city’s two universities, the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent, should now consider expelling those who ‘think their social life is more important than other people’s health’.
Both universities told MailOnline that the majority of their 63,000 students ‘always follow the rules’, with the University of Nottingham adding there are ‘serious consequences for any student who breaches the restrictions, including disciplinary action, fines and campus sanctions’.
Nottingham Trent took a similar stance, explaining: ‘We have already issued warnings and fines to students, and we have referred some cases to serious misconduct panels which could result in more serious outcomes, up to and including exclusion.’
Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, from the NUS, said she hopes the institutions will adopt a ‘care centred approach rather than fall back on academic sanctions that will only create further harm.’
She added calls for expulsion could be ‘hugely damaging’ for the futures of students ‘at a time of rising unemployment, a growing student mental health crisis and uncertainty over future opportunities.’
Chief Constable Craig Guildford, of Nottinghamshire Police, called for the crackdown on rule breakers after his officers were forced to hand out dozens of fines to partying undergraduates last weekend. Pictured: The University of Nottingham
Chief Constable Guildford said: ‘It’s quite unbelievable how some people are completely ignoring the fact that people are dying and the NHS is already so stretched with cancer treatment being halted because of the continued spread of Covid-19.
‘The only way to get this under control is by everyone in the community sticking to the legislation and taking responsibility.
‘Thankfully most people in the community understand the seriousness of the situation and are playing their part.
‘But there always seems to be a few who think their social life is more important than other people’s health.
‘Sadly many of the incidents we attended overnight again were student parties.
Pictured: Chief Constable Craig Guildford of Nottinghamshire Police
‘We know that both universities have been trying to help get the message across to students but for some it doesn’t seem to be getting through.’
Chief Constable Guildford said officers will continue to hand out fines to those who disregard restrictions, adding he hoped to see universities expel students as a strong deterrent.
He said: ‘It is only by working together to follow the legislation that we will be able to control the spread of the virus.
‘I would like to thank everyone who is taking their personal responsibility seriously and assure them that we will increasingly take action against those who needlessly put others at risk.’
His comments came as Nottinghamshire Police fined a man £10,000 following a bash at a student flat in the city centre attended by 38 revellers on Saturday.
All those in attendance were handed £200 penalties.
The host and his guests were among 83 flouters issued fines over the weekend, with other incidents including a party on Sunday in which a DJ booth was set up in the basement.
Officers also found guests attempting to escape through a window and hiding in the garden during another student party, which led to 18 fines being issued.
He said the city’s two universities, the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent, should now consider expelling those who ‘think their social life is more important than other people’s health’. Pictured: Nottingham Trent University
Ahead of the winter lockdown coming into force on Thursday, Nottinghamshire is currently subject to Tier 3 restrictions which prevent people from different households mixing indoors, with the exception of support bubbles.
The county recorded 702 new Covid-19 cases in the 24 hours to November 1.
A University of Nottingham spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘The majority of our 35,000 students are following the rules, however, under our student Code of Conduct there are serious consequences for any student who breaches the restrictions, including disciplinary action, fines and campus sanctions – in addition to police fines.
‘The University takes swift and proportionate disciplinary action when students are found to have wilfully breached Covid restrictions.
‘In the most serious cases, students will be fast-tracked to the highest levels of our process where suspension and exclusion are potential outcomes.’
A Nottingham Trent University spokesperson added: ‘The University takes all allegations of student misconduct extremely seriously, and we work closely with Nottinghamshire Police to investigate any incidents reported to us as matter of urgency.
‘We have made clear to our students that they – like everyone – have a crucial role to play in complying with the rules and limiting the spread of this virus.
‘While the vast majority of our students always follow the rules, our code of behaviour was updated to reflect the fact that students need to comply with the restrictions and where we have evidence of them not doing so there will be consequences under our disciplinary processes.
‘We have deployed extra security patrols across our halls of residence and in the community to ensure compliance.
‘We have already issued warnings and fines to students, and we have referred some cases to serious misconduct panels which could result in more serious outcomes, up to and including exclusion. We will not hesitate to do so again.’
Last month, four university students were fined £40,000 after throwing a house party, lying about it and moaning at officers for ‘spoiling their fun’.
The Nottingham Trent third-years were each handed £10,000 penalties – more than a year’s tuition – after 30 revellers were found hiding in the kitchen, bedrooms and basement last night.
All have been suspended by the university and face further disciplinary action including expulsion pending the outcome of an investigation.
Pictured: Students in Nottingham party during lockdown earlier this year despite restrictions
Last month, four university students were fined £40,000 after throwing a house party, lying about it and moaning at officers for ‘spoiling their fun’. Pictured: Kimbolton Avenue, Lenton
Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, from the NUS, said today: ‘While we urge all students to adhere to public health guidance they should not be subject to different rules than the rest of the public.
‘Calls to expel these students, while unjustly punishing them twice, is also hugely damaging for their futures at a time of rising unemployment, a growing student mental health crisis and uncertainty over future opportunities.
‘We expect institutions to adopt a care centred approach rather than fall back on academic sanctions that will only create further harm.’
Last week, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said the force would need more than £1million to ensure there were sufficient officers to combat the number of parties in the area.
He said: ‘We are bidding for extra money for increased patrols. We need a more visible presence on the ground.
‘We are bidding for as much as we can get. There are a lot of house parties going on, and a lot of interventions by the police. We can’t get extra officers but we can do more overtime.
‘If we are going to tackle this we need extra resources. We are not going to fall out with people about the exact amount of money but this is an extra demand on policing.
‘Most people are behaving well but there are small groups where we have got to intervene.
‘I think the danger is if pubs and bars are closed people will want to socialise and there will be a temptation to have people around your house and that is against the regulations.’