Hundreds of students cram into Coventry University halls for illegal late-night rave


Shocking footage shows hundreds of students climbing on top of ping pong tables and raving at a Coventry University accommodation block last night. 

At least 200 students are thought to have crammed into a common room at Arundel House, close to Coventry University’s main campus, ignoring social distancing guidelines and the rule of six.    

Some revellers could be heard screaming, while a group of male students clambered on top of a ping pong table as they sang along to the thumping music. 

The accommodation block is just a two minute walk from campus and is also close to the town centre. 

A spokesman said Coventry University was aware of the incident and said any students found to be in breach of the university’s code of conduct could face disciplinary proceedings.

An investigation is underway to find the organisers of the party, with police shutting down communal areas in the accommodation blocks and beefing up security in light of last night’s gathering. 

The footage emerged despite coronavirus causing havoc at universities across the country.

Up to 4,000 students across Britain are now self-isolating for a fortnight after more than 500 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed across at least 32 universities.

The University of Exeter became the latest to institute a ‘soft lockdown’ on its students yesterday afternoon, asking them not to socialise in other people’s residences and only to mix with people within their household. 

It is believed that more than half of the cases confirmed in Exeter over the last week can be traced back to the university.  

Elsewhere, 1,700 students are under lockdown at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) campuses of Birley and Cambridge Halls. All lectures, seminars and classes for first-year students at the university will now be online for the next 14 days.  

A statement issued from Coventry University this afternoon said: ‘We are aware of an incident in a private accommodation block which was captured in a video that has been shared online.

‘We are deeply concerned by the scenes in the video and strongly condemn the blatant breaches of the rule of six and other guidelines as they risk the health of our students, colleagues and the communities in which we are located.

‘We have introduced a code of conduct for students and shared this widely with them ahead of the weekend.

Some revellers could be heard screaming

Some revellers could be heard screaming, while a group of male students clambered on top of a ping pong table as they sang along to the thumping music

The accommodation block is just a two minute walk from campus and is also close to the town centre

The accommodation block is just a two minute walk from campus and is also close to the town centre

‘This code of conduct makes it clear that a failure to follow university and Government health, safety and wellbeing requirements will constitute a breach of the university’s disciplinary regulations and may be dealt with as a matter of misconduct. 

‘If any of those involved in the video are found to be students of Coventry University and in breach of the code of conduct, we will take appropriate action. 

Government should introduce ‘Nightingale classes’ say teachers

Union chiefs have called on the government to create ‘Nightingale classes’ amid a drop in the number of schools able to fully open due to Covid-19. 

The latest government figures revealed one in six state secondary schools could not fully open last week – with most unable to do so because of coronavirus.

Schools are considered to be not fully open if they are unable to provide face-to-face teaching for all pupils for the whole school day and have asked a group of students to self-isolate.

Latest school attendance statistics reveal approximately 84 per cent of state-funded secondary schools were fully open on September 24 – down eight per cent from a week earlier.  

Now bosses from the National Education Union (NEU), the largest education union in the UK, have renewed calls on the government to create ‘Nightingale classes’ in a bid to get all of the country’s students back into lessons.

They say the Nightingale class would be similar to the government’s Nightingale hospital system – where pop-up hospitals were set up in conference centres at the start of the pandemic to deal with an anticipated surge in hospital admissions.

Joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: ‘With such a rapid drop in the number of fully open secondary schools in the space of just two weeks, it is clear the Government’s grip on the situation is now in question. 

‘It is doubtful the urgency of the situation has yet dawned on either (Prime Minister) Boris Johnson or (Education Secretary) Gavin Williamson, who must now ensure that schools and colleges are equipped to deal swiftly and effectively with any outbreaks that occur on their premises.

‘This does not just begin and end with testing, although that situation is parlous enough.

‘We need to see the drafting in of retired, supply and newly qualified teachers to get class sizes down.

‘Nightingale classes will be necessary to expand school space – we have been calling for that since June.’

 

A spokesman for Coventry Police said: ‘We attended Arundel House today (September 29) following reports of a large gathering of students in the early hours of this morning. It’s believed around 200 people may have been present in a common room.

‘We will be examining CCTV and will take action if evidence comes to light that this was a planned party.

‘We have liaised with management at the student accommodation block and they have agreed to close some communal areas and to increase security.

‘We have also arranged a Safer Students stall in Arundel House tomorrow to reiterate CoVID-19 regulations and the consequences should those regulations be flouted.’

A spokesman for NIDO, which runs Arundel House, said: ‘We were made aware of a large social gathering in our residence in Coventry last night. 

‘Steps were immediately taken to deal with the gathering, including calling the police for assistance. The police were unfortunately unable to attend at the time. We understand that they are under a lot of strain due to the number of similar incidents, both in Coventry and nationally.

‘We are in close contact with FutureLets at Coventry University and are assisting the local authorities with their investigation.

‘In line with government advice, we are reinforcing our zero tolerance policy to different households mixing and have put in place stringent Covid-19 related measures, including the installation of Perspex screens at reception and hand sanitiser stations throughout the building, the posting of social distancing guidance and measures, ensuring PPE is worn by all staff outside of the office and providing residents with regular updates on the latest government guidance.

‘We have also now restricted all visitors to the building, closed communal areas, and have stepped up security across our residences to oversee these policies. We do not want the actions of a few to affect the experience of many.’ 

Beleaguered Gavin Williamson broke cover today to confirm that some university students will have to cut short their term and self-isolate for a fortnight in order to be allowed home for Christmas.

The Education Secretary said students in ‘specific circumstances’ would have to quarantine before the festive period amid growing anger at the handling of campus lockdowns.

He addressed the Commons after being dubbed the ‘Invisible Man’ by Labour after being notable by his absence as students were locked into halls of residence.

Thousands of students across Britain are now self-isolating for a fortnight after more than 500 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed across at least 32 universities.   

Mr Williamson told MPs today was is ‘essential’ that measures were put in place to ensure that students can return home for Christmas ‘while minimising the risk of transmission’.

‘Where there are specific circumstances that warrant it, there may be a requirement for some students to self-isolate at the end of term and we will be working with the sector to ensure this will be possible, including ending in-person learning if that is deemed to be necessary,’ he said.

‘My department will publish this guidance shortly so that every student will be able to spend Christmas with their family.’

The Education Secretary said students in 'specific circumstances' would have to quarantine before the festive period amid growing anger at the handling of campus lockdowns

The Education Secretary said students in ‘specific circumstances’ would have to quarantine before the festive period amid growing anger at the handling of campus lockdowns

Mr Williamson’s disappearance during the crisis so far is likely to raise further questions over his future, after he faces the wrath of parents, teachers and MPs over the return of pupils to schools and the A-Level and GCSE results fiasco last month.

He said he does not believe students should face stricter measures than others in society.

Self-isolating students given free booze as three more universities impose Covid curbs 

Self-isolating students were treated to 1,000 free beers in Manchester as three more universities impose coronavirus curbs.

Some students at the accommodation at Manchester Metropolitan University have been forced into isolation and are only able to receive food and drink through delivery services.

Other grocery deliveries were allowed into the Needham Court halls of residence alongside free beer from Magic Rock Brewing.

It comes as three other universities in the UK have imposed curbs on freedoms and thousands of students across the country remain in self-isolation after spikes in Covid-19 cases were reported.

The University of Exeter yesterday ordered students to stay indoors and only mix with people within their household following reports that more than half of the cases confirmed in Exeter over the last week can be traced back to the university.

The University of Aberystwyth put a stop to all in-person teaching after multiple students tested positive amid ‘uncertainty’ about how far the recent spike has spread.

A ‘small number’ of positive tests were reported in Queen’s University Belfast, forcing all students living in university accommodation into self isolation.

Some 40 students and staff at the University of Sunderland have tested positive for coronavirus.

It comes after Newcastle University and Northumbria University confirmed 62 students had tested positive on September 25, with all students self-isolating.

He told the Commons: ‘Students as well as the wider community accept when we are living in a global pandemic we have to operate in a society with restrictions.

‘But I do not believe that we should look to inflict stricter measures on students or expect higher standards of behaviour from them than we would from any other sector of society – there must be a parity.’

And he added: ‘We will never be in a position where we can eliminate all risk.

‘But we will not condemn a generation of young people by asking them to put their lives on hold for months or years ahead.

‘We believe that universities are very well prepared to handle any outbreaks as they arise.’

It comes as more universities in the UK imposed curbs on freedoms.

The University of Exeter yesterday ordered students to stay indoors and only mix with people within their household following reports that more than half of the cases confirmed in Exeter over the last week can be traced back to the university.

The University of Aberystwyth put a stop to all in-person teaching after multiple students tested positive amid ‘uncertainty’ about how far the recent spike has spread.

A ‘small number’ of positive tests were reported in Queen’s University Belfast, forcing all students living in university accommodation into self isolation.

Some 40 students and staff at the University of Sunderland have tested positive for coronavirus.

It comes after Newcastle University and Northumbria University confirmed 62 students had tested positive on September 25, with all students self-isolating.

Labour said its research showed Mr Williamson has not made any public appearances in recent days and nor has he tweeted since September 10 – more than two weeks ago.

On Monday, the South Staffordshire MP took to Instagram to post about a litter pick in his constituency that he had taken part in, rather than the situation at the UK’s universities. 

Responding in the Commons, shadow education secretary Kate Green said the situation as students return to university was ‘desperately worrying’.

Ms Green told MPs: ‘Across the country, many find themselves isolated in cramped accommodation, parents worried about their well-being and safety, and university staff who have worked so hard over the summer to prepare are anxious and angry that the Government didn’t keep its part of the bargain.

‘They’ve all been let down by the Government just as it let down many of these same students with its handling of exam results last month.

Gavin Williamson’s words plop out of his mouth like coins from a one-armed bandit: HENRY DEEDES watches the Education Secretary’s statement on the fiasco in our universities

When the BBC commissioned its delightfully dire ‘sun, sex and sangria’ sitcom Eldorado, some bright spark at Broadcasting House had the whizzo idea of hiring some Spanish actors.

You can just imagine how the conversation at that executive lunch went. ‘Yup, trust me, Tristram, this will save us a bunch. Plus, it will make the whole thing a bit more authentic. Now, do try the rabbit polenta here, it’s dreamy.’

Of course, as soon as cameras started rolling, it transpired that none of these artsy hombres understood a word of what he was saying. The whole production was a Costa del Disaster. Hysterical viewing, mind you.

Zero understanding: Gavin Williamson

Zero understanding: Gavin Williamson

This little snippet of early 90s nostalgia came to mind yesterday, when Gavin Williamson came to the House to issue a statement on the fiasco taking place in our universities, where local restrictions have left many students cooped up on campus like battery chooks.

This must be Mr Williamson’s fourth or fifth appearance at the despatch box in recent weeks, and having sat through each one, I have come to suspect that he has absolutely zero understanding of the words written in front of him. He might as well be reading Swahili.

Words do not so much come from his mouth as plop out at random, like coins from a one-armed bandit. Everything is just one long monotonous drawl.

Stress, emotion, urgency – such oratorical tools are completely absent from the Williamson kitbag.

Even his universities minister Michelle Donelan, perched cross-legged to his left, spent most of his speech staring into the distance, her eyes basted with a dewy glaze.

From what I was able to discern, contrary to recent fears, students will be able to return home this Christmas, though some might have to cut short their term and self-isolate for two weeks first. Panicking mothers, you can all breathe easy.

It is fortunate for Gav that his opposite number Kate Green was off her oats. She was rather subdued. Possibly still licking her wounds after Piers Morgan gave her a going-over on Monday over her recent comment: ‘Don’t let a good crisis go to waste.’

Other Labour MPs were far more vocal. ‘Shambolic!’ they cried. ‘Chaotic!’ Even bubbly Lucy Powell (Lab, Manchester Central) had gone grey with rage. Williamson, she said, had ‘lost control’.

There was much venting about student fees. The DUP’s Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) was furious. Usually is. He asked why universities were able to charge the same money while clearly ‘not offering the student experience that they promised’. Bambos Charalambous (Lab, Enfield & Southgate) called it ‘grossly unjust and unfair’.

This must be Mr Williamson's fourth or fifth appearance at the despatch box in recent weeks, and having sat through each one, I have come to suspect that he has absolutely zero understanding of the words written in front of him

This must be Mr Williamson’s fourth or fifth appearance at the despatch box in recent weeks, and having sat through each one, I have come to suspect that he has absolutely zero understanding of the words written in front of him

The SNP’s education spokesman Carol Monaghan suggested England take a leaf out of Scotland’s book and make tuition fees free. Cheeky. Scottish universities, of course, benefit from cash which whistles its way up from Westminster. Gav thanked Monaghan ‘for suggestions for future Conservative Party manifestos’. There were a few ‘hear, hears’ from backbenchers at that remark, which might have encouraged Williamson.

He delivered a decent put-down to Corbynite clod Richard Burgon (Lab, Leeds East), who accused the Government of rushing students back to dodge demands for rent reimbursements. Droned Gav: ‘I’m always grateful to get direct questions from the UCU…’

Laura Trott (Con, Sevenoaks), so lustrously maned she may possibly have just waltzed in from the set of a shampoo advert, raised the issue of university bosses’ pay. Some vice-chancellors, as we know, are paid better than Goldman Sachs bankers. Trott wanted assurances that staff would not be allowed to claim bonuses this year, unless fees were lowered. Williamson said he would give regulators a ‘strong steer’ on the matter. If you could.

Twice Williamson was asked whether students were allowed under the current rules to go home to self-isolate. Twice he promised his department would publish ‘guidance’ shortly. 

He hangs to that word like a toddler to a blankie. He used it 14 times yesterday, by my count. Anyway, Gav shows no sign of going anywhere, so stand by for more of this nonsense. 

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