Police called after illegal party saw 200 flout Covid-19 rules at university halls

Up to 200 people are thought to have joined an illegal party in a university’s halls of residence, flouting Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings and social distancing.

West Midlands Police said officers were called to Arundel House in Coventry following reports of “a large gathering of students” in the block’s common room in the early hours of Tuesday.

Video on social media showed people dancing at the late-night rave.

Coventry University, whose students use the privately managed halls, said it was “deeply concerned” and condemned what it called “blatant breaches of the rule of six and other guidelines”.

It warned that any students found to have breached its own Covid-19 code of conduct may face disciplinary action.

Police said the halls’ management had agreed to close some communal areas and increase security.

Officers said they would be examining video and CCTV footage and would take further action if evidence emerged the party had been planned.

Forces were given powers in August to fine people who organised illegal parties and raves of more than 30 people up to £10,000.

The incident came as thousands of students in halls of residence across the country have had to self-isolate due to outbreaks of Covid-19 at more than 30 universities.

Coventry itself has seen its infection rate jump from 30 per 100,000 two weeks ago to more than 70.

A Coventry University spokeswoman said: “We are aware of an incident in a private accommodation block which was captured in a video that has been shared online.

“We are deeply concerned by the scenes in the video and strongly condemn the blatant breaches of the rule of six and other guidelines as they risk the health of our students, colleagues and the communities in which we are located.

“We have introduced a code of conduct for students and shared this widely with them ahead of the weekend.

“This code of conduct makes it clear that a failure to follow university and Government health, safety and wellbeing requirements will constitute a breach of the university’s disciplinary regulations and may be dealt with as a matter of misconduct.

“If any of those involved in the video are found to be students of Coventry University and in breach of the code of conduct, we will take appropriate action.”

The spokeswoman added that the vast majority of students were “sensible” and taking the virus seriously.

The university said it had put in place safety measures across its five campuses and was “in constant dialogue with local public health officials and other agencies and universities”.

Students are regularly reminded to follow Covid-safe rules and use the NHS track and trace app, while student ambassadors are reminding people about social distancing and the importance of wearing masks.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “We attended Arundel House following reports of a large gathering of students in the early hours of this morning.

“It’s believed around 200 people may have been present in a common room.

“We will be examining CCTV and will take action if evidence comes to light that this was a planned party.”

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