The minimum fine issued by police in England for a first offence in breaching Covid-19 household-mixing rules is £200Rodhullandemu/Wikimedia Commons

In an email seen by Varsity, Jesus College informed its students yesterday evening (19/01) that a breach of College Covid-19 rules could result in a financial sanction, a policy that was introduced at the beginning of the academic year.

The email, which features the slogan “what is unlawful on Jesus Lane, is unlawful in Jesus College”, distinguishes four levels of severity for breaches.

Firstly, it refers to “very minor, easily resolved” breaches of rules, including those which “can be dealt with by the Porters”, where the Dean will “probably not apply a financial sanction”. A spokesperson for Jesus College told Varsity that “nearly all [breaches were] dealt with by Porters or staff without referral to the Dean” during Michaelmas term. The email cites standing in a group of three people from more than one household as an example of such a breach.

Secondly, it refers to “minor and one-off” breaches. The example given for this is “socialising” in a group of three people from different households, which may result in a £40 fine. The college spokesperson noted that “modest fines were issued on only a few occasions, with the money going to our bursaries fund.”

The email then cites “major breaches”, in the instance of which the Dean “will probably apply a more serious financial penalty”. It states that if a student invites a guest to their household who is outside of their support bubble, then they could face a minimum fine of £80.

Furthermore, bringing one or more guests into shared spaces within their household “will be responded to with more severe fines.”

Finally, the email warns of repeated breaches of the rules, where sanctions will be escalated “in a manner proportionate with the seriousness of the initial breach.” For instance, multiple outside gatherings will be met with “increasingly costly fines”.

Meanwhile, students involved in multiple indoor gatherings, and particularly those in shared spaces, could have their right to live in the College withdrawn either for the 2021/22 academic year, or for the remainder of the 2020/21 academic year in “highly serious - and very rare - cases”. The spokesperson for Jesus College told Varsity that no student had their right to live in College withdrawn during Michaelmas term.

The spokesperson added that the measures comes after weekly COVID working group meetings at the College revealed concern amongst students and staff about virus transmission within the College “due to a small number of people breaking the rules.” 


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Current government guidance states that you cannot leave your house to meet socially with anybody with whom you do not live or have formed a support bubble, and that you should retain a two metre distance from anybody outside of your household or bubble.

By law, police can take action against anyone meeting in larger groups, with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400, and a maximum fine of £10,000 for anyone holding, or involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people.

This development from Jesus’ college leadership follows the controversy which ensued over the announcement in November that they would explore taking disciplinary action against victims reporting assault or harassment in circumstances which were deemed to breach the College’s Covid-19 behavioural guidelines, for which the College’s Senior Tutor subsequently apologised. 

Varsity has asked Jesus College Student Union (JCSU) for comment.