As much of the UK was hit with a flurry of snow, UEA was transformed into a picturesque winter wonderland covered in a blanket of the white stuff and as has become tradition, hundreds flocked to enjoy a day of snow-artistry and sledding in a variety of forms.
In a normal year, the joy of playing in the snow would be enjoyed by everyone and celebrated as a day that will make memories for most. However, given the situation we now find ourselves in, seeing a large crowd of people gathering without face coverings and a distinct lack of social distancing makes us uneasy to say the least.
Colman Hill on campus was occupied by a large crowd in excess of 100 people, with more arriving by the minute, a clear mix of students and locals, largely made up of early-late teens, using a variety of household items as make-shift sledges to ride the slippery slope down towards the Colman House accommodation block.
A number of students were seen using items that had clearly been taken from the UEA buildings, including broken chairs and wet floor signs. What was more disturbing was the lack of attention from UEA Security, with no guards in sight.
Ziggy’s seemed to be benefitting from the increased traffic on campus with a queue out of the door and people seemingly enjoying the opportunity to grab a drink to warm up.
Adding further concern, alongside the lack of regard for COVID-guidelines implemented by both our Government and UEA itself, was the amount of litter left by the revellers, from water bottles & coffee cups, to broken plastic from the make-shift sledges.
A University spokesperson said: “UEA has promoted the safety-first messaging to staff and students and we request that everybody on campus follows the guidance on social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing face coverings, where they are not exempt. UEA security personnel have been speaking with people where the guidance is not being followed and directing people to the government guidance.”
Adding: “If people persist in ignoring the government guidance and requests this will be addressed through the University’s discipline processes, where individuals are identified. Security personnel are also liaising with the police and while security were present social distancing was being observed.”
UEA did not respond to the question in regard to the absence of Security Personnel during the time that we were on site.