Manchester Uni fines students £50 for being at Platt Fields Park

The uni used evidence from Instagram posts

Students have been sent £50 fines from the University of Manchester for going to Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield.

In emails sent by the university, the fines issued were claimed to be a result of a breach in “conduct and discipline regulations” updated during the pandemic.

In emails seen by The Manchester Tab, evidence attached with the fines appears to have come from students’ personal Instagram posts at Platt Fields.

However, in a statement to The Manchester Tab the uni said it is “not monitoring our students’ individual social media accounts.”

In an email to a student who was fined, the university said: “It is clear from Instagram screenshots that a very large number of people were gathered at the time.”

It goes on to say: “Other students were also identified in the Instagram screenshots the university was made aware of and they too have been considered by me as part of this case.

“Mixing with individuals outside of households was not allowed both under the Regulation and government rules at the time of this gathering,” at the end of February of this year.

UoM student Matt wrote: “UoM is handing out fines to students who legally visited the park with their households during the good weather.”

A student who was fined told The Manchester Tab: “I’m worried that now everything I do socially and post on social media is being looked at and used against me.

“I’ve been fined for sitting at a park with my flatmates, not mixing households.

“They’ve even included a screenshot of my private account. I just found it incredibly odd and predatory.”

In emails seen by The Manchester Tab, the university enclosed Instagram screenshots from a students’ personal account.

It also reminded students of the university code of conduct, including the Covid-19 “rules and expectations”, and says students can be issued with “a warning or other sanction following receipt of a report that a student has breached the rules”.

Over the incident, the university has also received backlash from staff.

Dr Jo Edge, a UoM lecturer said she is leaving the uni in August and feel “chilled to the bone” by what she has seen over the past year, saying she no longer feels she owes the university “an iota of loyalty”.

A University of Manchester spokesperson told The Manchester Tab: “We understand these are extremely challenging times – especially for our students – and the health and wellbeing of all our students, staff and the wider public is of the utmost importance to the University.

“We have a duty of care to act on reports of our students breaching national Covid regulations. This may result in sanctions – including fines – for a small minority of them. We are not monitoring our students’ individual social media accounts.”

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