A joint statement from Coventry University Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Latham and Chief Superintendent Mike O'Hara of West Midlands Police
Wednesday 30 September 2020
Both Coventry University and West Midlands Police are appalled by the scenes caught on video at the student accommodation Arundel House, which is owned and operated by a private provider. We are working together – alongside the private accommodation provider – to investigate this incident.
West Midlands Police will be examining CCTV and will take action if it comes to light that this was a planned party. Organisers of illegal gatherings of more than 30 people can be fined up to a maximum of £10,000. Anyone who attends a social gathering of more than six people can be fined £100, doubling up to a maximum of £3,200.
Coventry University will start disciplinary proceedings against any students identified by West Midlands Police or its own investigation. The university's Covid-19 code of conduct was distributed to students last week and included warnings about the disciplinary sanctions open to the university, including suspension or withdrawal from the university. Any action will be appropriate to the findings of a thorough disciplinary process.
The private accommodation provider has agreed to close some communal areas and to increase security.
A Safer Students stall has been arranged between WMP and the private accommodation provider to reiterate Covid-19 regulations to residents and the consequences should those regulations be flouted.
The university has consistently and repeatedly conveyed clear messaging around what is expected of students both on and off campus and will be reinforcing that message in response to this incident.
We understand and share the deep concern this has caused but it is our belief that the overwhelming majority of students are following the guidelines and doing everything they can to play their part in protecting our communities.
There have been very few incidents of large scale Covid-19 breaches in Coventry to date; people have generally recognised the importance of the restrictions and behaved responsibly.
Officers from West Midlands Police will be out on the streets reminding everyone of their duty to help slow the spread of the virus and not to congregate in large numbers. If they have to, officers will move people on and fines will be issued where appropriate.