University College Cork (UCC) has temporarily suspended 11 students pending disciplinary hearings.
The university confirmed the suspensions on Thursday less than 24-hours after confirming that it is investigating a number of alleged breaches of student rules which are believed to be linked to freshers week activities.
UCC’s Student’s Union has been under fire for going ahead with several freshers week activities online only against the backdrop of rising Covid-19 cases in Cork.
The union said moving events online was in line with public health guidelines.
However, residents living around the university who campaigned during lockdown against Covid-19 house parties in rental properties in their area, said they had concerns that many of the activities, which included online DJ sets, would encourage large gatherings and more house parties.
In a statement to theThursday, UCC said that in 11 cases, a temporary suspension has been put in place pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing, which is in line with its student rules.
“These have been made without prejudice to the hearing process,” a spokesman said.
UCC’s Campus Watch body decides whether complaints about student behaviour should be dealt with by the Campus Watch Committee, which hears less serious complaints, or by the Student Discipline Panel, which deals with the more serious cases.
Both groups are meeting daily at the moment.
If students are found guilty of a less serious breach, they are presented with three options:
- Completing two in-house educational programmes — a bystander intervention programme and an alcohol education programme;
- Completing just one of those programmes and making a €25 charitable contribution;
- Or just paying a €75 charitable contribution.
For the more serious breaches, students can be fined, suspended, have their access to library and computer facilities removed, or even expelled.
Earlier yesterday, the spokesperson for the Magazine Road and Surrounding Areas Residents group, Catherine Clancy, and president of UCC's students' union, Naoise Crowley, went head-to-head on the issue on theon Cork's RedFM.
Mr Crowley accused residents of over-reacting, while Ms Clancy accused Mr Crowley of being irresponsible during a pandemic.