Comment

Should The Government Lock-Up University Students

Lucy Farmer 

Like a paper sticky label on your new sets of kitchen plates, stubbornly refusing to come off without relentless scrubbing, the term ‘students’ has been irreversibly tangled with the idea of COVID-infected party animals. 

You see it on the news – old men hunched over their pedestals flailing about uncooperative youth. 

Blame is being tossed around like a stale bag of bread. Tougher restrictions loom on the horizon. Students are being isolated in their dingy accommodation by a neglectful government. 

It is then no surprise that freshers are upset the big hurrah to set off their 3 years of crippling debt is intercepted by awkward Microsoft Teams meetings. 

The question remains, however – have students given into this undeniable urge to party? Do we need stricter conditions to keep us in check? According to the statistics, yes. Or, at the very least, more young people aged 18 to 24 are being tested positive

Nottingham alone has seen a rapid increase since the return of students in October. Latest stats show the university has recently had 425 cases that slipped through the cracks of self-isolating and social distancing – a spike sharper than the alcohol sales at the local Lidl store when the semester started.  

At a glance, these are terrifyingly convenient statistics. 

The government gets to spoon-feed the country excuses while they debate locking up the rest of the UK’s university population

The government gets to spoon-feed the country excuses while they debate locking up the rest of the UK’s university population (but not before they pop out for a quick post-10pm pint at the parliament pub, that is).

The blaming of one group of people for the issues of an entire country sounds like a wonderful idea moving forward, and not at all a questionable method to quell national concerns of infection rates. 

A new statistic shows 80% of people aged 20 years and under present no symptoms following infection. Some argue this in the riot against young people – the lack of deadly cases among our peers hasn’t incited enough fear to defer social gatherings. But we’ve been just as exposed to the horrors of the media as everyone else. 

With unknowing infected students strolling around, some argue it might just be time to introduce age-based restrictions. 

But, while we’re spitting statistics at each other across the dining room table, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care newly released a study showing that a disproportionate 54.1% of people tested positive for COVID are female.

Grab your pitchforks ladies and gentlemen, its time we turn the blame on women. Because we’re basing our conclusions entirely on statistics and not personal bias, right?

We’ve been labelled as lazy and uncaring for as long as there’s been viral videos of trashed accommodation and the ramen noodle diet

This idea of immature and incapable students is not new. We’ve been labelled as lazy and uncaring for as long as there’s been viral videos of trashed accommodation and the ramen noodle diet. Yet, the government can’t decide whether to encourage or shame this. 

The pendulum swung from Chancellor Rishi Sunak pushing restaurant propaganda to Matt Hancock threatening to lock students up for Christmas faster than the whiplash of going back to studying after 6 months off. 

It’s unrealistic to expect young people to drop everything and hide away after months of telling them to get out of the house. And when those students move across the country for an education they were told was safe to pursue, it’s even more ludicrous to snap back and limit their every movement. 

If these infamous restrictions do come into play for just young people, it will simply be perpetuating unwanted stereotypes and further depriving them of the respect they crave. 

Locking up an issue has never been an effective method of making it go away. 

But, as much as I would love to claim all students know when to shut up and take responsibility, I’ve seen masks dangling around noses like a loose pair of underwear

But, as much as I would love to claim all students know when to shut up and take responsibility, I’ve seen masks dangling around noses like a loose pair of underwear. There will always be exceptions that the media will shower with attention. 

Can we really base the regulations of an entire generation on this?

There is an uncomfortable reality that everyone needs to address; yes, young people can be irresponsible, but so can everyone else. And if one group of people get harsher restrictions, so should everyone else. 

There are lives at stake, and COVID cases are rising everyday. Maybe it’s about time we all grit our teeth and take care of our community instead of waiting for the government to stop throwing around threats and actually do something.

The pandemic isn’t over. And it seems an agenda against young people isn’t, either.

Lucy Farmer

Featured image courtesy of Changbok Ko via Unsplash. Image license found hereNo changes were made to this image. 

For more content including uni news, reviews, entertainment, lifestyle, features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved. 

If you just can’t get enough of Features, like our Facebook as a reader or a contributor.

Categories
CommentFeatures

Leave a Reply