Manchester students pull down COVID security fences in protest
Written by on 6 November 2020
Students angered by fences put up around their halls of residence have pulled down the barriers in protest.
The fences were erected on Thursday at the University of Manchester’s Fallowfield campus as a “security measure” to “help avoid the mixing of households”.
But the measure – which was not explained to residents until after the fences went up – caused unrest among students, who protested on Thursday evening and pulled the barriers down.
Joe Hindley, a 19-year-old first-year maths student, said: “There’s no benefit we can see to them being up.
“They’ve said something about it increasing our safety but from what we can see it’s a complete waste of money.”
The fences were put up around the outside of the campus, with security checks on the way in, and between blocks.
While they did not prevent students from entering or exiting the campus, they did bar passage between the different blocks of halls.
In an email received by students shortly before 8.30pm on Thursday, the university’s president and vice-chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell apologised for causing “concern and distress” by putting up the fences.
“This was not our intention – in fact quite the reverse,” she said.
“The fencing was intended as a response to a number of concerns received over recent weeks from staff and students about safety and security; particularly about access by people who are not residents.
“There was never any intent to prevent you or other residents of our halls from entering or exiting the site.”
She added that the fences would be removed on Friday, and alternative measures “including additional security patrols” would be brought in instead.