Cambridge College Threatens To Evict Students If A Covid-19 Outbreak Occurs

Trinity College Cambridge is facing allegations of taking harsh measures by informing students that they might suddenly be asked to evacuate from their housing in case of a coronavirus outbreak. The Trinity College administration has requested students living in the institution’s student halls to sign a new contract that outlines that they could be "required to move, without help from college, to alternative college accommodation, or out of college, at very short notice". The agreement states that if the college accommodation is withdrawn, "you must return home or find alternative accommodation elsewhere, at your own cost." However, in case a student is unable to find alternative accommodation, then the college may provide temporary alternative safe arrangements in another location, but only if there is a "truly exceptional reason why you cannot obtain alternative accommodation." The college porters will take back the rooms if students refuse to comply with the terms of the agreement.

The student union officers are concerned about the impact of the policy on public health and are scheduled to meet local authority officials to discuss the issue. The current master of the College is Dame Sally Davies, England’s previous chief medical officer. The Cambridge University Student Union has stated that Trinity’s measures are "extremely punitive." The student union body has also highlighted that "the contract reserves the college’s right to evict students at their complete discretion, which will place affected students in positions of vulnerability and precarity." Additionally, the university’s student representative for homeless students and those estranged from their families has called on the college to make arrangements for students whose permanent home is in college.

Trinity’s newly implemented contract, referred to as a "Covid-19 student community statement," instructs students to bring only the bare minimum of essential items primarily for academic purposes to the college. The agreement further states that students must "have prepared travel plans to leave college accommodation, at your expense, at very short notice and at any time unless you have been granted permission to stay." Students are also required to have three days’ provision of non-perishable food stored in their rooms and ready for use in the event of a lockdown.

The Department for Education recently published guidelines for higher education institutions that might allow students to remain in campus accommodation in the event of local lockdowns. A spokesperson for Trinity has stated that the measures are necessary for the college to manage the ongoing public health situation. The college has put in place arrangements to reduce the risk of infection for the Michaelmas term and is engaging with the University of Cambridge and monitoring the UK government’s public health guidance for higher education institutions. One Trinity student has expressed concern about the financial burden of the new rules on the students and suggests that the college should reconsider its actions.


  • nicholashopkins

    Nicholas Hopkins is a social media teacher, writer and educator. He has been blogging since 2009, and has since published over 20 articles and taught social media in high school and college. He is currently a social media teacher and blogger at Nicholas Hopkins Academy.