University of Manchester students have ripped down a ‘lockdown fence’ that was installed without warning on the Fallowfield campus.
The protest took place last night following metal fencing being put up around the halls of residences, including Owens Park and Unsworth Park.
One student wrote on Twitter: “We’re being locked in like animals, a boy has died due to lack of support from the university and feeling alone. Yet they still continue to not communicate anything to us imagine the impacts this will have on student’s mental health”.
Earlier in the day, the university released a statement explaining that the fencing was to be put in place as a security measure during the four-week lockdown.
However, students and parents raised concerns that the university was ‘penning them in’. The students only learnt what was happening when they woke up to find fencing being erected.
The protests began around 8pm, with the university issuing an apology and explaining that the fencing would be removed Friday morning.
By then, videos had been shared across social media and a number of the fences already ripped down.
In a statement, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, said: “I sincerely apologise for the concern and distress caused by the erecting of a fence around our Fallowfield Halls of Residence today.
“This was not our intention – in fact quite the reverse.
“The fencing was intended as a response to a number of concerns received over recent weeks from staff and students on this site about safety and security; particularly about access by people who are not residents.
“There was never any intent to prevent students from entering or exiting the site.
“The fences are being taken down from Friday morning and students are being contacted immediately. Alternative security measures, including additional security patrols are being put in place.
“I apologise once again for the issues caused by this incident”.
An 18-year-old student told LBC: “The uni did not email us beforehand. We feel it is inhumane and unnecessary to practically lock us into our own campus.
“The fencing has been put around our whole Fallowfield campus. The policy is fair enough but the lack of communication is appalling.”
A second, who wishes to remain anonymous, added: “The fencing started being put up this morning without any communication to the students living here. The fencing is covering all of the blocks.”
They continued: “I’m angry about the lack of communication. We don’t know why the fencing is up, where we can and can’t go, how we get in and out of campus. I’m concerned for people’s mental health.”