Mental health and no internet are ‘permitted reasons’ to return to Cambridge, Toope confirms

Clearly a number of colleges didn’t get this memo x

Stephen Toope has confirmed that lack of internet access and mental health challenges qualify as reasons why students can return to their college this term, in an interview today with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

When asked about students returning to Cambridge, he clarified “the government guidance does permit certain types of students, for example, if they have no internet access, if they don’t have a home, if they’re sharing bedrooms and cant work or if they have mental health challenges.

“All of these are permitted reasons to come back to the university.”

Stephen Toope was on Radio 4 answering questions on Cambridge’s new foundation programme and the university’s response to coronavirus.

His clarifications on reasons why students may return to their college follows a high level of discontent from students alleging that their colleges are not letting students return, despite fitting into these categories.

A student at Queens’ claimed: “I asked my tutor if I could return to college, as I qualify for both of these exceptions [and] I was still refused my request. She even suggested that I intermit, instead of being allowed to return.”

They also alleged  that a student who had no access to internet connection was refused return to college. When the student explained that in order to complete his term from home the college would have to either install a new 4G mast, or lay a fiber optic cable to his house, his tutor allegedly suggested that he look into these options.

Meanwhile, a Caius student said their college’s “comments on coming back to uni have indicated how few people they want to come back and I think it is definitely dissuading students who struggle with their mental health from asking to return.”

Queens’ College and Caius College have been contacted for comment. 

Feature image credits: Katie Thacker

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Just a list of reasons why Cambridge should give us a safety net this year