NI Students could be disciplined over Covid-19 Breaches.
Following complaints about house parties in the Holylands area of Belfast, Queens and Ulster University have warned students that they will take disciplinary action against students that breach coronavirus restrictions.
Ulster University has threatened suspension and even expulsion for those caught breaching guidelines and Queens, taking a lighter tone, said that they would, “apply disciplinary measures as appropriate.”
The issues and complaints originate in the Holylands, an area of Belfast that is full of short-term student housing.
A group has been formed to look into the enforcement and compliance of the regulations. It consists of representatives from the two universities, the PSNI, junior ministers from the executive office, the health minister, and the chief medical officer.
The PSNI has already made two arrests in the Holylands area and warned that they would take action “where we see breaches of the regulations or anti-social or criminal behaviour”.
Breaches of the current restrictions could be met with a £1000 fine.
The current death toll for NI due to Covid-19 stands at 573 while the total case number is now at 8631.
Both Queens and Ulster University have made it clear that they realise that it is only a small minority of students that are actively flaunting the restrictions. Professor Seawright, the executive dean of Ulster University, said that the issues were a “very small and localised problem”.
Some students have claimed that they are being unfairly targeted by the police in the Holylands area and believe that there are issues with the shifting nature of the guidelines.
The MLA for the area, the Green Party’s Clare Bradley, has called on the executive to visit the area, claiming that the residents were in the middle of a “perpetual anti-social behaviour crisis”.
The universities are working with the police and the Belfast City Council to tackle the perceived issue of student unrest in the area.