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Protests at Manchester University Accommodation

Following an anxious morning of accommodation blocks being fenced around, students have taken to protesting. The scenes, which are ongoing started at 8pm this evening.

From 8am, fences were erected around Richmond Park, Oak House, and many other blocks in the Fallowfield Accomodation area.

One student from Richmond Park reported to Omnium Radio “I can’t believe they didn’t inform us prior to the lockdown coming into force. I would have gone home to my family before living like a caged animal.”

The University of Manchester confirmed the fencing is a result of “new safety measures” following the national lockdown. The university has made clear that students can leave and that the measures are to prevent people who do not live there entering the accommodation; however, they have also advised that students should not leave the accommodation to return home. These measures come just weeks after the death of a student due to poor mental health amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Another student from Oak House contacted Omnium with the email he received from the University following his concerns.

One Student from Richmond Park told Omnium Radio her story. “My personally experience was that I was trying to study and was interrupted by a lot of loud construction. I looked outside to see the building of fences and many groupchats and students were sharing photos of the implemented fencing. I looked in my emails to find some guidance from the university, expecting information but did not discover anything. Many students tweeted the uni to which they replied they had sent out an email, which was an obvious lie. After we searched for answers we were informed we could still leave the premises but I was disappointed, along with many other that we had no prior warning and were left to imagine the worst- that we were trapped! A lot of the students suffer from anxiety and following a recent suicide just across from me I expected more support from the university. The campus has a dystopian prison-like atmosphere at the moment that is very daunting. If we were made aware of such changes prior to the fencing be constructed many of us would have avoided the anxiety and returned home to our families“

The student from Richmond Park, also received an email following her anxious complaints.

Protests began at 8pm with students holding signs, releasing smoke bombs, and some beginning to dismantle the fences themselves.

A spokesperson from Manchester University has signposted students to the Reslife Team if they are seeking support, Duty ResLife Team for emergencies out of hours, and for self isolation enquiries.

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