As the St Patrick’s Day festival approaches, the Vice Chancellor and the Student Union President at the University of Ulster have written to students reminding them of their responsibilities to the communities in which they live – and the consequences of any repetition of the anti-social behaviour seen on the streets of south Belfast last year.
“As a University of Ulster student, you should be aware that you are a representative of the University both on and off campus, and carry with you the good name and reputation of the University,” the letter from Professor Barnett and Overall President Adrian Kelly says.
“It is a regrettable fact that anti-social behaviour by some students has, in the past, tarnished the good name of the University and its student body. In particular, St Patrick’s Day 2009 saw disgraceful scenes on the streets of south Belfast which resulted in criminal convictions for some students as well as disciplinary penalties for others.
The letter goes on to warn of the consequences of anti-social behaviour:
“We do not wish to see a repeat of those scenes this year, and will act swiftly against any of our students identified as bringing the University into disrepute through their behaviour.
“Accordingly, we ask that you be respectful and considerate of local residents and the communities that you live in, in order to protect the reputation of your University and foster good community relations.
The letter concludes with a reminder of the text of the university’s Student Charter, which explicitly defines the responsibilities of students to their local communities:
“We would therefore like to remind you that the University of Ulster’s Student Charter – to which you have signed up – states: “that you will not behave in an anti-social manner, on or off campus and that you will behave in a responsible manner in respect of the accommodation you occupy, relations with co-habitants, neighbours and local community.
"Anti-social behaviour may result in disciplinary action.”