St Chad’s students given temporary exclusion from college due to Covid breaches

Students were warned last week about a ‘large Chad’s Covid breach’ on this year’s Chad’s Day

A number of students at St Chad’s have been temporarily excluded from college following Covid-19 rule breaches.

The College’s Principal told The Durham Tab that “yellow and amber warnings” have been issued to members of the college community, and that additional sanctions have been given for more serious breaches, including “community service and temporary exclusion from college.”

Confirmation of the sanctions comes following reports that police were called to Observatory Hill on Chad’s Day, to deal with a large congregation of students there.

The annual event, which this year took place on Saturday 27th February, sees students dress in green for a day of organised activities along with the rest of the college community. Although this year’s rendition was due to take place virtually due to lockdown restrictions, a number of students were found by police to be gathering on Observatory Hill.

Margaret Masson, Principal of St Chad’s College, sent an email to students on the evening of Chad’s Day which reads: “Unfortunately, since my last e-mail, I have had a number of complaints from members of the public this afternoon about a large Chad’s Covid breach near the bottom of Observatory Hill. By the time I arrived, police were in attendance; they have taken names and are dealing with it. College discipline will follow in due course.

“Obviously, this is hugely disappointing, and a significant blow to the reputation of St Chad’s.”

Following investigations into the breach, it has been confirmed that a number of students have been subjected to formal discipline, with the most serious offenders being temporarily excluded from the college.

In a statement, Margaret Masson told The Durham Tab: Following breaches of Covid-19 regulations, yellow and amber warnings have been issued to members of our College community. In the case of serious breaches, further sanctions have been also applied. These include community service and temporary exclusion from College.”

The Tab Durham contacted representatives for Durham University, asking for clarification as to whether the sanctions imposed upon students were linked to events on Chad’s Day. However, they said that they were unable to provide comment on the specifics of individual cases.

When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Durham University added: “The vast majority of our students have responded to the local and national Covid-19 restrictions as responsible citizens and we are proud of them for doing so. However, where behaviour falls below the standard we would expect, we will take swift and decisive action.

“In the first instance of a suspected Covid-19 breach, we will seek to speak with those involved to explain the risks of their behaviour, encourage them to observe Covid-19 legislation and guidance and remind them of their commitment to themselves, their peers and the wider community made under our Student Pledge.

“If serious and intentional breaches are identified and this ‘engage, explain and encourage’ approach has not resolved the situation, we will apply our formal disciplinary process.”

Durham University’s current internal disciplinary procedures for students found breaching national guidelines involves a three tiered system, issuing yellow, amber or red warnings based on the severity of the offence.

A first, low-level breach of regulations will see the issuing of a yellow warning by the student’s college. Second or more serious breaches will lead to an amber warning, in which a formal warning will be added to the student’s record, and further sanctions may include a fine of up to £500, or community service of up to 75 hours.

Red warnings are the most severe form of punishment, with sanctions including permanent exclusion from the University.

Further information on Durham University’s Covid-19 response can be found here.