Durham University suspends ten students over Covid breaches

TEN students from Durham University were suspended for seriously or repeatedly breaking Covid-19 restrictions.

All were found to be have breached rules last term and were excluded for set periods of time, while a further six had their access to extra-curricular activities restricted.

Students who received formal warnings for Covid breaches did a total of 531 hours of community service.

And £4,288 in fines were paid to colleges, which will use the money to benefit good causes, and a further £6,300 of suspended fines were issued.

University leaders said the vast majority of students continued to be responsible citizens but “swift and decisive” action is taken to deal with those whose behaviour falls below the expected standard.

The latest information on staff and students with the virus shows 20 staff and 23 students reported positive Covid-19 tests between January 8 and 21.

Jeremy Cook, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) at Durham University, said: “The vast majority of students have continued to respond to Covid-19 restrictions as responsible citizens.

“However, where behaviour falls below the standard we would expect, we have clearly outlined to students, staff and the wider community that we will take swift and decisive action.

“We have introduced the Managing Covid-19 Breaches Procedure, which uses a graded ‘yellow, amber, red’ response system in line with our Non-Academic Misconduct Procedure.

“Fines of between £100 and £500 have been made available to Colleges as sanctions for breaches graded ‘amber’.

“We have monitored all sanctions issued across all the Colleges for breaches both in College and out in the wider community throughout Term 1 and this will continue.

“Funds collected through fines are used to benefit good causes as determined by individual Colleges.”

In response to the pandemic, the university works with Durham County Council’s Public Health Team to prevent and respond to cases and has regular contact with city residents and representatives through a fortnightly Covid-19 Community Forum.

A community response team (CRT) at the university patrols Durham every day in term time, between 9.30pm and 3.30am, and responds to reports of suspected breaches made to police on the non-emergency number 101.

In the first instance of a suspected breach, the CRT tries to engage with the students, explain the situation and encourage them to follow the rules.

If that does not work, the ‘yellow, amber, red’ disciplinary system is activated and for the most serious cases sanctions include permanent exclusion from the university.

The CRT visited properties 75 times from October to December and issued 432 warnings to Colleges for low-level breaches and 186 amber warnings.

Teaching during the current term, from January 11 to March 19, is almost wholly online.


The Northern Echo | Durham