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UoN students pay £200,000 per year in fines

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Students based on UoN’s Nottingham campuses in 2011/2012 paid £198,438 in penalties, including a huge £171,687 in library fines, an investigation conducted by Impact has revealed.

Freedom of Information requests sent by The Guardian in February to all UK universities unearthed £551,237.30 of fines paid by UK students as a whole last year, and revealed that some universities used this money to fund staff outings.  This only included disciplinary fines, which totalled £26,751.97 out of the £198,438 paid by UoN students.

Fines at the University of Nottingham are categorised into disciplinary, library and traffic offences.

“Urinating on University grounds” cost 13 students between £15-200

Out of UoN’s £26,751.97 of disciplinary fines, the highest amount paid was £500 for assault, committed by fewer than ten students last year.  The most common offences were “noise disturbance”, committed by 224 students, and “drug possession/use”, committed by 107, for which individuals were fined £15-250 and £0-350 respectively.

“Urinating on University grounds” cost thirteen students £15-200 each, and “failure to evacuate for a fire alarm” cost £15-150 for thirty-four students.  Other particularly costly offences were to do with “behaviour of guests” and “tampering with fire safety equipment”.

Failure to evacuate for a fire alarm cost thirty-four students between £15-150

UoN’s Academic Service Division confirmed that “all discipline fines go into the Student Crisis Fund”, which “provide[s] small, interest free loans to students who are experiencing financial difficulties because of an unexpected change in their circumstances after admission to the University”. All UoN students are eligible to apply for this fund.

By contrast, The Guardian revealed that Downing College, Cambridge used students’ fines to finance their “annual staff outing”.

224 students were charged between £15 and £250 for noise disturbance

An enormous £171,687 in library fines were paid by UoN’s 34,076 UK based students in 2011/2012. Here, the maximum fine was £10 per book.”The money from library fines is absorbed into the library budget and as such funds a range of activity, including extending opening hours, inter-library loan costs and new books”, the Academic Services Division disclosed.

The Division was “unable to specifically state” how much students paid in traffic fines each year, as “the majority of offences are dealt with by way of civil parking notices. This will include staff, students and visitors”.

107 students were charged between £0 and £350 for drug use and possession

They informed Impact that, “at least 95% [of traffic fines] are for unauthorised parking, the remainder being for cycling without lights, occasional speeding, inappropriate driving or failing to conform to traffic signs”.

“Parking related fines are £25 – £75 depending on how soon the parking fine is paid. Cycling without lights fines are £15 and other traffic violations generally £50. Repeat offenders can be fined up to £150”.

Money from traffic fines at UoN contributes to the offsetting of the City Council’s Workplace Parking Levy paid by employers in Nottingham since April this year.

Alice Jones

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