oxford university students cough

Oxford Uni students coughed at staff telling them to observe social distancing rules

Staff may now have to wear body cameras

A number of Oxford University students coughed at staff who were attempting to break up their large gatherings on Sunday evening, prompting the university to provide staff with body cameras.

Professor Heidi de Wet, the Dean at St Catherine’s College, emailed students on Monday to let them know staff will be given body cameras in order to gather evidence if students are breaking social distancing rules.

Her email came after an incident on Sunday evening when three junior deans and a porter were trying to disperse large groups of student who were gathered in the junior common room, a marquee and a number of stair cases.

Some of the students apparently would not give their names to the deans and then coughed at the staff.

Professor de Wet addressed the incident in her email, which read: “Some of the students refused to give their names and agreed to disperse only when presented with the prospect of police involvement.

“Some particularly reprehensible individuals chose to express their displeasure by coughing in the junior deans’ direction.”

Following the incident Professor de Wet explained junior deans and porters will be given body cameras to gather evidence of students breaking rules. She also said police will be called immediately if staff feel “threatened or witness potentially criminal conduct”.

After her email, she sent a follow up regarding students’ concern about their privacy being invaded.

She apologised for the wording of her email, she wrote: “I left all of you under the impression that you will be spied on…this is not the case, I simply tried to convey that we take the welfare of our staff and students very seriously.”

St Catherine’s College fully condemned the incident which happened over the weekend and said cameras would only be issued if a repeat of this behaviour happens.

Featured image credit: Marvin Lagonera on Unsplash

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