United Kingdom

Freshers are caught throwing illegal party at university halls

Students at the University of Manchester have been filmed throwing an illegal party outside their student halls.

Footage recorded at 1am this morning shows a large gathering outside of Owens Park halls in Fallowfield, south Manchester, with one clip captioned: 'Covid wah?'.

Another clip shows a sea of people dancing to music which appears to be coming from a sound system. 

A University of Manchester statement said: 'We are aware of this party and our security services worked with Greater Manchester Police to shut it down.

Students at the University of Manchester have been filmed throwing an illegal party at 1am this morning outside of Owens Park halls in Fallowfield, south Manchester

'This behaviour is totally unacceptable and the University strongly condemns it.

'We have been clear and consistent with our messaging around student conduct and behaviour in halls and we will be working hard to identify those involved.

'Our students must respect social distancing rules and all other restrictions to keep themselves and others safe.

'If students do not comply, they will face disciplinary action from the University, which could lead to fines or expulsion, and we will not hesitate to involve the police if necessary.

'Some students have already been issued with fixed penalty notices by the police.

One clip shows a sea of people dancing to music which appears to be coming from a sound system

'Additional security officers have been deployed in Fallowfield and further reminders sent.

'Details of offending students are being recorded and a number of these will now go through our disciplinary process.'

MailOnline has contacted Greater Manchester Police for comment. 

The University of Manchester has also warned that students could be made subject to a curfew following a 'significant' number of coronavirus breaches.

Bosses said 'active consideration' is now being given to the introduction of a curfew across halls, or other restrictive measures.

A University of Manchester statement said: 'Details of offending students are being recorded and a number of these will now go through our disciplinary process.' Pictured: Owens Park halls in Fallowfield, south Manchester

Earlier this week, four students in Fallowfield were fined by the police after organising an 'after the pub party'.

Each student was handed a £100 fixed penalty notice from officers for not adhering to social distancing guidelines.

And at Birley Halls, accommodation for Manchester Metropolitan University students, residents claim around 100 people were partying till the early hours of the morning last Monday and Tuesday night.

A GMP sergeant tweeted last week: 'Shocked at the arrogance, ignorance & selfishness of some of the freshers in Manchester.

'When you're asked to follow the Covid rules, do as you're told. If you refuse, resulting in being told to leave, don't kick off! Your actions are risking bars / pubs being closed!'.

Around 600 students are self-isolating at Glasgow University, which has set up its own mobile testing unit, while students are warned not to attend parties and pubs this weekend

Some students however have said they felt 'on edge' and like they had been unfairly targeted throughout the coronavirus crisis so far.

One fresher said: 'It's a bit weird. The first few weeks are about meeting people and obviously it's so hard to do that.

'Everyone is a bit on edge. '

The news comes as Scottish students are being threatened with a strict 'red and yellow card' system for breaking Covid-19 rules as they're banned from parties and pubs.

It comes as at least a dozen universities in England and Wales have set up their own testing facilities, as outbreaks are reported on 17 UK campuses. 

At least a dozen other universities in England and Wales have brought in their own testing facilities to monitor for potential outbreaks 

Up to 125 students have contacted coronavirus across three universities in Edinburgh in another blow for Scottish universities after outbreaks in Glasgow, Dundee, Fife and Aberdeen. 

Institutions have said they will make it 'absolutely clear' for those studying that parties will not be tolerated - as a SAGE scientist warned students could be kept on campus over Christmas where outbreaks occur. 

Sir Mark Walport told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'The one thing that we don't want is for an outbreak of coronavirus in a university to then result in students going home and spreading that infection to other parts of the country and other communities, to their parents, to their grandparents.

'If students are infected when it comes near to the end of term they may have to remain where they are.' 

At least 362 cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed among the UK's student population, but none of them are thought to have been hospitalised by the virus.

UK universities to report Covid-19 cases 

Aberdeen - Number unconfirmed

Nottingham - One student

Liverpool - 80 students, seven staff

Edinburgh - 120 students at Edinburgh Napier, five at the University of Edinburgh and Queen Margaret University

Dundee - Four students at Abertay University

Fife - Four cases at St Andrews University

Glasgow - 124 cases

Exeter - Number unconfirmed

Canterbury - Two cases at University of Kent

Manchester - 'Several cases' at Manchester Metropolitan University

Leeds - Six cases

De Montfort - Two confirmed cases

Warwick - One confirmed case

Swansea - 12 confirmed cases

Bristol - One confirmed case at the University of the West of England  

Universities Scotland yesterday outlined new rules for students in the North of the UK, instructing them not to attend hospitality businesses and not to mix outside their household. 

The new rules say institutions will 'make absolutely clear to students that there must be no parties, and no socialising outside their households'.

They add: 'This weekend, the first of the new tighter Scottish government guidance, we will require students to avoid all socialising outside of their households and outside of their accommodation.

'We will ask them not to go to bars or other hospitality venues.'

It warned of taking a two-strike approaches to anyone breaking the rules, saying: 'We will take a strict 'Yellow Card/Red Card' approach to breaches of student discipline that put students and others at risk. 

'While we first want to advise students about breaches of discipline, we will not hesitate to escalate this to disciplinary action including potential discontinuation of study.' 

It comes as the likes of Nottingham University set up its own testing facilities to monitor for an outbreak, while Exeter has brought in its own private tests. 

Professor Jonathan Ball from Nottingham University said its scheme had potentially prevented an outbreak. 

He told BBC Radio 4: 'We've had a pilot running with vet students they started towards the end of July, we've been weekly testing them and they've been taking their own swabs. 

'We've had a single case that was an asymptomatic person, because of our advice they isolated, their household isolated. We've continued testing three weeks on and we've had no more cases.

Students may have to spend Christmas on campus to avoid infecting parents with Covid, warns SAGE expert 

A scientist advising the Government has said university students may have to be told to stay on campus over Christmas in the events of coronavirus outbreaks.

Sir Mark Walport, who is on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'There's absolutely no doubt about that and we've seen that from universities across the world.

'There was a paper published, endorsed by Sage, at the beginning of September that noted there was a significant risk that higher education could amplify local and national transmission.

'Universities are very large communities, they bring together people from across the country and they're far from monastic communities these days.

'The one thing that we don't want is for an outbreak of coronavirus in a university to then result in students going home and spreading that infection to other parts of the country and other communities, to their parents, to their grandparents.

'If students are infected when it comes near to the end of term they may have to remain where they are.'   

'We were able to identify it quickly and potentially stop an outbreak before it started.'

If a positive test is returned at the university, it has to apply for a pillar two test from the Government, in order for it to be officially registered as part of the track and trace system. 

Professor Powell explained why the scheme was so important: 'It's been known for sometime that universities are particularly high risk settings. When you have lots of very young people very often somebody who's infected at that age will show very mild symptoms and often no symptoms at all so they won't even know they're infected.

'We're asking them to live together in fairly large numbers so there is the potential for rapid spread of the virus and therefore we need to be aware of that and do all we can to control that.' 

So far the majority of outbreaks have been recorded in Scotland, but there have been student Covid-19 cases at universities in Leeds, Exeter, Liverpool and Manchester. 

Students in Scotland put up post-it notes in their windows, with one writing 'Send drink' and another lamenting the fact they could not smoke while in isolation.

At least 600 have had to confine themselves to their student accommodation after 124 students caught the virus at the Glasgow university.

Meanwhile Mr Hancock said he does not want students to have to stay at their institutions over the Christmas break.

He said: 'I don't want to have a situation like that, and I very much hope we can avoid it,' he said.

Asked if it was under consideration, he said: 'I've learned not to rule things out. And one of the challenges we have is making sure that people are as safe as possible and that includes not spreading between the generations, but… this is not our goal.'

Earlier this week it was revealed 500 students were self-isolating at Abertay University in Dundee after one confirmed case, while 80 students and seven staff were confirmed to have coronavirus at the University of Liverpool. 

There have also been 'a number' of confirmed cases at Aberdeen University. 

The outbreaks across Scotland have prompted a strong warning against house parties. 

Students living in IQ Parker House Students accommodation in Dundee were asked to self isolate due to an outbreak. They entertained themselves by posting messages on the windows

At least 80 students at Liverpool University have contracted coronavirus, along with seven staff

During yesterday's coronavirus briefing national clinical director, Jason Leitch, said: 'We need you not to have house parties, I could not be more clear.'

Nicola Sturgeon said the 'significant outbreak at the University of Glasgow' had impacted on the daily Covid-19 infection figure for the NHS Greater Glasgow area.

A total of 224 cases were recorded across the health board area in the past day, she said.

Prof Leitch said he had spoken to student leaders about the latest restrictions on Tuesday through the National Union of Students.

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