St Catherine’s College is providing porters and junior deans with body cameras to enable them to “identify individuals in breach of regulations”, according to an email seen by The Oxford Blue. The development comes after a large congregation of of students “in the JCR and marquee, […] in total disregard of social distancing rules and other other College and Covid-19 regulations.” When approached, students refused to give their names or disperse until police involvement was threatened, and a few are reported to have coughed in the direction of the junior deans when asked to leave.
After referencing the breach of regulations, the email suggests that the Dean felt they had “no choice but to hold all members of the JCR responsible”. It goes on to say that, “the College will take strong action against all of the persons involved in incidents of this type, regardless of whether it is their first offence”.
The letter also stresses that porters and junior deans will “call the police immediately for assistance if they […] feel personally threatened or witness potentially criminal conduct of the type witnessed at the weekend”.
Students who are caught in breach of regulations may face a variety of consequences, including, “reporting to the University proctors or public authorities, formal censure on their academic record (for later reference to professional bodies and potential employers), loss of College scholarships […], suspension, and in the most serious cases termination of the College membership.”
The University of Oxford, St Catherine’s College, St Catherine’s College JCR President, and their welfare representatives have been approached for comment.