Exeter freshers and campus security ‘injured’ after ‘incident’ at Holland Hall last night

Security were called to break up illegal gatherings

Both University of Exeter freshers and members of Estate Patrol are allegedly injured, after security were called to break up illegal gatherings of “around 20 people” at Holland Hall last night.

According to multiple eyewitnesses, a student was allegedly pushed to the ground and “repeatedly kicked” by an Estate Patrol officer.

The student in question, Tom* told The Exeter Tab: “Last night I was kicked in the back of my leg and pushed by an officer along with other students that were also shoved within the room.”

However, the University of Exeter denies these claims. A spokesperson said instead that the “injury” was “caused to one of our Estate Patrol team as they tried to disperse a student gathering” at Holland Hall.

It’s clear there was an incident of some kind, however each side seems to blame the other.

Speaking to The Exeter Tab, Tom said that after he was “kicked,” “a friend requested the officer’s details, to which he denied. I want to clarify that, yes, we were breaking the Covid rules, however the behaviour is firstly illegal, and secondly highly unprofessional.

“The security guard was not provoked, I think some people were pushing forward but majority obeyed to stand back. It was around 1 or 2 am when the estate patrol entered the room. We then were told to stand in the middle/sides of the room, which we did. Then this one patrol officer in particular resorted to abusive behaviour. We then gave our student details and left one by one.”

According to students, multiple freshers also proceeded to jump out of a three story balcony to escape Estate Patrol and party fines. Ella* who was also at the scene spoke to The Exeter Tab, saying: “We were three stories up and about 13 people jumped off the balcony as a result of fear of excessive force from campus security.”

Pictures not related to the students involved

Archie*, a first year student who was there when the alleged incident took place, told The Exeter Tab: “My friend was tackled and repeatedly kicked by campus security tonight, and I feel like someone needs to voice that the way they are treating us in halls is not ok.

“He was in a corridor and there were around 20 people in a room, and he obviously tried to run once Estate Patrol got there, and this was when one officer proceeded to assault him.”

Lily* also told us: “I was a witness to an Estate Patrol officer kicking another student and I myself was subject to being aggressively and directly pushed.

“People were jumping out of the balcony out of a room that was three stories high. There were approximately 20 people in the room, those of which were fined and their details were taken down.

“It was one patrol officer in particular that was being verbally and physically abusive, and when we asked for his details, he refused to give them to us. They told us to stand back, which all of us obeyed, and then he resorted to using physical violence against us.

“He kicked one student in particular who did not provoke him – but no one was directly provoking him, I believe a few pushed forward a bit but that was it.

“I am sure we are not the only ones to experience something like this. Understandably we were breaking Covid rules, but that does not give authority to abusive actions and behaviour.”

Pictures not related to the students involved

A separate incident allegedly occurred on the ground floor of the same accommodation block, which Tom said could have caused the behaviour from Estate Patrol officers: “There was another incident that happened on a different floor last night where allegedly a security guard got his arm broken – however we had nothing to do with this, nor witnessed this. This could explain the agitated behaviour displayed towards us, although does not excuse it.

“I was not there, but the security have CCTV pictures of the guys – I think some were from Holland and others from another accommodation. They have gone around questioning students to help to identify them. We were at a party which was separate to this event, as I only heard about it this morning.”

A University of Exeter spokesperson said: “We are aware of an incident last night in Holland Hall and an injury caused to one of our Estate Patrol team as they tried to disperse a student gathering that was against the Covid-19 rules in an individual’s room on the ground floor.

“We are investigating and will not tolerate aggression towards our Estate Patrol team. We have made it clear that University enforcement actions for those who break Covid-19 rules include cautions and fines, and for repeat or serious breaches, sanctions such as suspension and expulsion.”

*Names have been changed 

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