Anger as students gather in city centre

Students at Oxford University have been accused of ignoring social distancing rules as they celebrated matriculation.

Oxford Mail: Students at the Radcliffe Camera. Picture: Adam Packer Students at the Radcliffe Camera. Picture: Adam Packer

Despite the ceremony, which marks formal admission to the university, being moved online this year crowds of students were seen in the city centre yesterday.

A video posted on twitter showed a large gathering at the Radcliffe Camera.

One person, who did not want to be named, said:”I was in Oxford city centre today and students were everywhere for Matriculation despite the University offering a virtual ceremony due to Covid-19.

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“Hundreds of students gathered in the town particularly around the Radcliffe camera.

“No social distancing between large groups of students and lots of alcohol being drunk.”

Many took to social media to complain about the large gatherings.

Another person who contacted the Oxford Mail said: “Yesterday afternoon I took my son who has Autism for one of his favourite walks into Oxford city centre as he loves to look at the old buildings, especially Hertford College’s Bridge of Sighs and the Radcliffe Camera.

“As we turned the corner we were surrounded by thousands of ‘Oxford’s Finest Students’ all in full regalia who had hung up their brains and put on their gowns, it was like a scene from St Trinians.

“They had all just received their degrees and ‘exemption certificates from the rule of six, social distancing and mask wearing.”

Oxford Mail: Students at the Radcliffe Camera. Picture: Adam PackerStudents at the Radcliffe Camera. Picture: Adam Packer

Oxford Mail: Large crowds at the Radcliffe Camera. Picture: Greger LarsonLarge crowds at the Radcliffe Camera. Picture: Greger Larson

An Oxford University spokesperson said: “We are aware that a small number of students had their pictures taken in the city centre after the online matriculation event.

“Our security teams reminded students to adhere to their household bubbles and to adhere to the social distancing guidelines.”

Students have been behind much of the city’s recent rise in Covid cases, with Oxford University’s own testing service reporting 61 positive coronavirus tests between October 3 and 9.

Oxford Brookes University, where a video emerged last month of a massive crowd of partying students, there were 96 confirmed cases during the same period. 

Only one of them was a member of staff and the other 95 were students.