University forced to break up parties of up to 150 students breaking Covid rules

A university called in police to break up parties of up to 150 students as it responded to dozens of Covid-19 breaches in the space of just weeks.

Cardiff University has responded to 44 incidents in halls of residence since the end of September, according to newly-released figures.

The revelation comes after Metro.co.uk reported how hundreds of students across the country have been hit with warnings or disciplinary action relating to breaches of coronavirus restrictions.

Failures to follow the rules range from not wearing a mask to a huge hall rave in Coventry which resulted in a police investigation.  

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In Cardiff, the university recorded 44 cases of students breaching restrictions in halls between September 27 and the start of November.

Two instances attracted numbers of up to 100 and 150 people.

None of the breaches resulted in disciplinary action being taken by the university, according to a response to a Freedom of Information Act by Metro.co.uk.

Masters student Carys Griffiths, speaking to Wales Online, said: ‘It’s sad being a student in Cardiff at the moment. But we’re making the most of it.

‘We have a house of six and we always go to the pub and stuff – and dance in our living room. We hear house parties all the time, I’ll be laying in bed and I’ll hear them. It’s just uni culture.’

Hall parties have been widespread since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, with pubs and nightclubs closed during freshers’ week and campus life drastically reduced due to most tuition taking place online.

Wales was also subject to the ‘firebreak’ lockdown, which has been replaced with new national measures after it ended on November 9.

Students have been asked by the Welsh Government to travel home by December 9 at the latest, the day after teaching is due to end.

Rapid turnaround tests will be offered 24 hours before they leave for the Christmas break, the Government said.

In England, a similar plan gives students a six-day ‘travel window’ to return home for Christmas after lockdown.

Online learning will replace the remaining face-to-face sessions by early next month, with planned phased departure dates between December 3 and 9.

The move came after the universities minister outlined a mass-testing programme between November 30 and December 6 for all students.

Under the plan, anyone testing positive is expected to have enough time to self-isolate before the travel window.

A Cardiff University spokesperson said: ‘We take breaches of the Covid-19 restrictions extremely seriously. We continue to work closely with our student community, local partners including Cardiff Council and South Wales Police, to raise awareness of the restrictions and ensure compliance. 

‘The vast majority of our students have followed the rules and we are grateful to them, but we are aware of a number of incidents. In addition to the issuing of Behaviour Contracts and Fixed Penalty Notices by the police, we are taking action under the Student Conduct Procedure as appropriate. 

‘At enrolment students signed our Community Commitment to support each other and to act with respect, courtesy and consideration in the community. 

‘We have set-up a dedicated email and telephone number for students and local residents to report suspected cases of misconduct to the University.

‘We urge anyone who witnesses a breach to raise it formally so they can be investigated and, if necessary, appropriate disciplinary action can be taken.’

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