Message from the Vice-Chancellor and SU President: Student incident 1.11.20

Dear students,

I am writing to you today in a joint message with the President of Hertfordshire Students’ Union, Karthik Kumar Bonkur.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, a serious incident took place on College Lane Campus. At 1.30am, the University Security team were alerted to a large gathering of students, with some individuals throwing fireworks. Due to the scale of the incident unfolding, the University Security team called Hertfordshire Police to the scene who worked to disperse the crowd in a peaceful, safe and timely manner. One person is known to have been slightly injured and so far, one individual has been arrested.

The University of Hertfordshire is your University. We have expectations of our students and you have expectations of us. We know many of you are also shocked at what you may have seen or heard, and we want to reassure you – we do not condone this behaviour. What happened at the weekend was unacceptable and dangerous.

We are working closely with the Welwyn Hatfield Chief Inspector to investigate what happened and to bring any offenders to Justice. Hertfordshire Police will also be enforcing coronavirus regulations by issuing fines where appropriate.

The majority of our students have been brilliant during this very stressful time and we are disappointed that a minority have chosen to behave inappropriately and irresponsibly. The University expects all students to follow our Student Code of Conduct, commit to the Student Charter and behave accordingly. We take strong disciplinary action against any students who break the rules. We know Halloween and Bonfire Night are celebrations that typically attract parties. While we appreciate student life is different this year, we must be clear; currently, you are not allowed gatherings on campus and you must not have guests in your accommodation. And as always, fireworks are banned on campus.

Please be reassured that we are increasing security across both of our campuses, working closely with the Hertfordshire Police. These extra measures are in addition to the work of our on-campus security officers who patrol all areas of both campuses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are supported by the security department’s 24-hour manned control room, student Residential Assistants, our on-campus accommodation team and our University Police Officers, all of who are here for any students who need help at any time of the day. You can find the contact details for our teams at the bottom of this statement.

If you want to discuss things through with the Dean of Students or a member of the Team you can make a confidential appointment via deanofstudents@herts.ac.uk or you can use our anonymous Report and Support service. If you are worried about someone else, you can also report this using this service. These online forms enable students to report anonymously or seek advice from an adviser in the Dean of Students Office and you can access them here.

We recognise this is a very difficult time and the events of the last few days will affect us all differently. If you would like to get some emotional support and talk things through with a counsellor, you can self-refer by filling out the form found on Ask Herts. Alternatively they may also have some available same day bookable counselling appointments, which can be booked by calling them on 01707 284453 or by emailing studentwellbeing@herts.ac.uk.

Let’s work together to keep our community safe.

Professor Quintin McKellar,
Vice-Chancellor
University of Hertfordshire

Karthik Kumar Bonkur,
President
Hertfordshire Students’ Union

Key contacts