By Molly Pipe, Deputy News Editor
Some solution to rule-breaking must be found, the University has stressed, with lockdown breaches leaving students ‘not feeling safe in their own homes.’
A blanket fine for all residents of Hiatt Baker C block will not go ahead, the University confirmed today.
The measure had been imposed in response to a series of lockdown breaches at the Halls block. The most serious of which, on 21 November, involved 150-200 people and resulted in a staff member being assaulted.
All students living in C block were to be subject to the fine, unless those connected with event came forward or were identified. The fine for attendees was set at £100, whilst the organisers and promoters were to pay £250. However, no individuals claimed responsibility.
The University’s decision to revoke the policy followed virtual meetings with Hiatt Baker residents, which were attended by Residential Life, security and senior management staff.
An increased presence from security staff and the police was agreed on last weekend.
Restriction breaches are also an ongoing issue at Halls like Badock, and it is believed that new measures may need to be imposed to cap them.
Controversy surrounded the blanket fine from the moment it was announced. Bristol, Cut the Rent condemned it as ‘highly distressing’, and ‘going completely against what management told us they could hand out fines for.’
We've heard that students in Hiatt Baker block C have been emailed this warning that the whole block may be fined as punishment for covid breaches. While we don't condone breaches of regulations, this email is clearly highly distressing .. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/qMoWq4KZwV— Rent Strike Bristol (@RentStrikeBris) November 24, 2020
A trainee solicitor described the move on Twitter as ‘completely irrational and procedurally unfair.’
A University spokesperson said the educational institution ‘felt it needed to take appropriate action, especially as concerns and complaints have been received from students and their families about such behaviour. Some students explained that they were not feeling safe in their own homes, which is just not acceptable.
‘Appropriate disciplinary action has been taken against the student who assaulted the member of staff, but as the disciplinary process is confidential we are unable to share any further detail.’
The overhaul of the ban follows another U-turn from the University this term, on the decision to not use bursary money to recover accommodation fees from rent strikers.
Featured: Hiatt Baker | Epigram / Lucy O'Neill
What approach do you think the University should take to lockdown breaches?