Student having allergic reaction in occupation claims security told them they can’t return if they leave
‘They did not seem particularly concerned that my throat was literally closing up and it would become harder for me to breath’
A student at Warwick University who was having an allergic reaction during the occupation of a university building claims they were told that they could not re-enter it if they left during the protest on Monday.
The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, is currently involved in Protect Warwick Women’s (PWW) occupation of Warwick’s University House building.
On the first night of the occupation, the student had a bad allergic reaction to the butane in a deodorant, causing their face and neck to swell up.
They wanted to leave the building to retrieve medication from their room and get some fresh air before returning but campus security allegedly told the student they would not be allowed to re-enter the building and re-join the occupation if they left.
The student explained: “I was faced with an ultimatum- either continue the protest and have an allergic reaction, or not protest at all.”
They told us that the university has limited the area that PWW can occupy in University House. All doors have been blocked and the space has no windows for fresh air. They said: “The space has very little to no ventilation so the deodorant was still in the air, and one of the things that really helps me is fresh air.
“I could’ve just gone outside and would’ve been okay, but they wouldn’t let me and we can’t use our cards because security have disabled the keypads for students so they control who comes in and out of the building.
“This is quite ironic as the campus security website says they believe access to buildings for students is an essential part of student experience.”
Campus security allegedly offered to send someone to the students room to retrieve the medication but as the student said: “I didn’t feel comfortable with this, they wouldn’t know where it was in my room and would be going through my personal belongings.”
Luckily they found a loose antihistamine in their bag but the student of the uni’s response, the student claimed: “I was denied the ability to leave and come back, despite the fact that it wasn’t voluntary, it was a medical emergency. No one came to double check and see if I was ok, or see if my condition had got better.
“They didn’t seem particularly concerned that my throat was literally closing up and it would become harder for me to breath.”
12 hours after the incident, the student claims a representative from the uni said that the protestors would be able to come and go from University House during their occupation but the student expressed anger at this, stating: “They said that one of the reasons why we’re allowed to go outside was for our safety but it shouldn’t have taken almost 12 hours for them to decide before allowing us to go outside.
“The fact that it took 12 hours to go from the campus security member to somebody who could make a decision was ridiculous. It showed exactly what the university cared about and it definitely wasn’t my safety first over other things.”
When asked whether they had received an apology from the university, the student replied: “There was no form of sympathy or remorse. The next day we were expected to be grateful for being let outside. It didn’t register that there should never have been a point where we weren’t allowed out.”
A spokesperson for Warwick University said: “We know that students in the Protect Warwick Women (PWW) group have published further concerns and that these have been discussed with members of the wider community. We’d like to ask PWW to have these discussions with us directly via our established channels so that we can continue to improve our approach collectively.
“We believe that working in partnership is the most effective way of finding long-term solutions. Ultimately, we all share the same determination to tackle sexual misconduct and to ensure all members of our community feel safe.”
Warwick’s statement in full can be accessed here.