Newry university students could face expulsion
University students across Northern Ireland have been warned about their behaviour in the build up to St Patrick’s Day. The University of Ulster has taken the unusual step of threatening expulsion to any students involved in trouble on St Patrick’s Day. The Holylands area of Belfast is no stranger to controversy in recent years, with recent St Patrick’s Day celebrations descending into riots and anti-social behaviour. Queens University has decided to give its students a long weekend instead, hoping that students will go back to their home towns and cities for the extended break instead of staying in the Belfast area.
In a University of Ulster video message, Vice Chancellor Professor Richard Barnett warned students about their future conduct, “In recent years we have to accept that a small minority of our students have let down the university, have let down themselves and let down their families through their anti-social behaviour on St Patrick’s Day. I have to say enough is enough. We will not tolerate any more of this anti-social behaviour. If any of you are involved in anti-social behaviour this year I will ensure that the university’s disciplinary procedures are brought in swiftly and severely.”
He added, “So let it be clear – within one week of St Patrick’s Day you could be expelled from this university. Do not let down your families. How will you explain to your family if one week from St Patrick’s Day your future is gone, you are no longer a student at this university.”
In a statement, Queen’s University said, “Following requests by local residents’ groups, the PSNI and Belfast City Council, Queen’s University has made Friday 16th March a reading day and is actively encouraging its students to go home for the weekend. In advance of the day the Queen’s Community Affairs Officer will visit all student houses within the Holylands to advise Queen’s students of their civic responsibilities. Any Queen’s student who is reported for anti-social behaviour will be dealt with under the University’s disciplinary process. The president of Queen’s Students’ Union is also writing to all students to advise them of their conduct.”
One local university student, Kevin McAteer, who studies Anthropology and Sociology at Queens, spoke to Newry Times about St Patrick’s Day. He said he will be taking the advice from Queens and going back home to Newry instead of visiting the Holylands. He said, “St Patrick’s Day is a fun filled day for everyone and undoubtedly one of the best days of the year but unfortunately there is a small minority of students who take it too far so I call on all students to behave, have fun and be safe. We don’t want a return to the Holylands riots of previous years.”
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