‘It’s all your fault’: Sheffield student told to ‘go home’ in vile threat over rising Covid-19 cases

A Sheffield university student was verbally abused and told to ‘go home’ after a member of the public blamed him for contributing to the city’s spike in Covid-19 cases.

Friday, 16th October 2020, 9:09 am

Tom, a second-year History and Linguistics student at The University of Sheffield, was threatened and told he was responsible for the rise of new infections in the city while shopping in a supermarket last weekend.

The 26-year-old mature student, who lives in Chapeltown, was on his way to Rugby practice at The Ponderosa, when he stopped to buy a drink in Tesco on Montgomery Terrace Road on Saturday, October 10.

While using the store’s sanitation station, a man told Tom, who was wearing a University of Sheffield hoodie, to ‘go back home’.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

University of Sheffield History and Linguistics student, Tom was blamed by a member of the public for contributing to the spike in Covid-19 cases.

The unknown man apparently became ‘irate’ and during a rant said: “Your sort should not be coming near me.

"You students are sending us into another lockdown.

"It's all your fault.”

Tom, who is a local student from Sheffield, reported the ‘threatening’ incident which happened at around 12.30 to 12.45pm to the University of Sheffield.

The mature student added: “It may sound like I am being petty but in the heat of the moment, with his tone and body language, it felt threatening.

"I feel if I had attempted to defend myself the situation would have escalated further.

"I initially felt confused at the moment rather attacked.

"Mostly though I felt targeted and segregated as if I was being treat like a medieval leper who should be avoided lest the plague spread.

There have been more than 1,000 coronavirus infections at Sheffield University – which has over 29,000 attendees – as 37 additional students and two members of staff were confirmed as having contracted the virus on October 14.

This brings the total number of cases at The University of Sheffield up to 1,058 since the new academic year began in September.

The 26-year-old feels as if students are being unfairly blamed for contributing to the city’s spike in cases when they were given ‘no other option’ after universities invited first-year students to live in halls.

Tom continued: “Students had to come back to university, the Government provided no other option, we can't all defer.

"So this idea that it is students vs the city is an unnecessary division during a time that we should all be working together to adapt and overcome.

“I actually agree that the halls should not have been opened to capacity and I strongly sympathise with this year's freshers.

"However it is not their fault. It was a decision made by a board of directors who are themselves in a state of panic over funding because of the strong lack of support from central government."

The mature student who has asthma said he feels safe on campus due to ‘effective’ social distancing measures, but believes the university should only be open to second and third year students and those on courses that can’t be taught online.

A University of Sheffield spokesperson said: "We are sorry to hear about this incident but pleased to hear that the student has reported it to the University.

"We encourage any students who experience abuse of any kind to report it to us via reportandsupport.sheffield.ac.uk so that we can ensure they are aware of the support available to them."

Thank you to all who support local journalism with a digital or print subscription to The Star. The events of 2020 mean trusted, local journalism is more reliant than ever on your support. We couldn't do it without you. Subscribe here so we can keep campaigning on your behalf. Stay safe.