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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 16:30 GMT
Oxford mourns deaths of students
Exeter College's chapel, Oxford
Exeter College remains open to students but is closed to visitors
The University of Oxford is mourning the deaths of two first-year students.

Harcourt "Olly" Tucker and Sundeep Watts died on Monday. Both were from Exeter College.

The university said the deaths were not related. Mr Tucker died after suffering a cardiac arrest playing hockey on Sunday and Mr Watts died of meningitis.

However, the college has temporarily closed its doors to the public and urged students to remain in Oxford rather than return home early.

"All the specialists dealing with [Mr Tucker] have assured us that there is no connection whatsoever between the two cases," said Frances Cairncross, rector of Exeter College.

Students are an 'at risk' group for meningitis
The Meningitis Trust

"The information we have been given is that it is preferable that the students remain in Oxford than that they return home early.

"The college doctor and the medical authorities are extremely alert to signs of meningitis, and the John Radcliffe Hospital has an outstanding capacity in tackling it."

The university said it has stepped up its information campaign to students about the symptoms of the disease which results in inflammation of tissue around the brain and spinal cord.

The Meningitis Trust said that students are at higher risk than the general public of contracting the disease.

A spokesperson said: "Students are an 'at risk' group for meningitis.

"One in four carry the bacteria that can cause meningitis at the back of their throats, compared to one in ten of the population as a whole."

A 24-hour hotline available to provide information and support and the university has also provided counsellors for students at Exeter College.

Meningitis death at university
12 Nov 07 |  Oxfordshire


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