More than 500 students disciplined by UEA over Covid breaches

Classroom teaching and public events have been suspended at the UEA. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Classroom teaching and public events have been suspended at the UEA. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Archant

More than 500 UEA students have faced disciplinary action over breaching Covid regulations since the start of the pandemic - with the university raking in more than £53,000 in fines.

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act has shown that students at the University of East Anglia have been pulled up 563 times for breaches of coronavirus restrictions since March 2020.

But with more than 17,000 people enrolled at the university, this represents just three per cent of the student population, meaning the vast majority have been compliant.

And other figures show that the total value of fines handed to university students in relation to Covid breaches tops £50,000, with the UEA issuing £53,200 worth of penalties during this time.

Of the 137 occasions in which fines were issued, 353 students saw themselves with bills of £150 to pay, while one was issued a fine of £250.

In the vast majority of these occasions - 339 - these were dished out due to students ignoring social distancing measures.

Meanwhile, on 12 occasions students were fined for failing to comply with self-isolation, while three were issued for other reasons - which were not specified in the response to the information request.

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A spokeswoman for the university said that when breaches were of a minor nature they were not referred to the police, but that in times when police were required to intervene the UEA's team would also take its own measures.

One such incident came in October 2020, when three UEA students were each handed £10,000 fines for holding a party for more than 100 people at a home on Bowthorpe Road.

The university said at the time that it was taking action, but when asked for the outcome the spokeswoman said she could not comment on individual cases but that "the university followed its disciplinary process".

The university spokeswoman added: “The vast majority of students have been supportive of the covid safety measures and following public health advice. The university is encouraging all students to get a PCR test this week in order to help reduce transmission of the virus and keep everyone in the community safe.

"The pandemic has had an impact on students and led to changes in the way the university has had to operate and during this time our students have in the main remained focused on their studies and supportive of the actions required to reduce the spread of the virus.”