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Saturday, 20 February 2010

Intercollegiate halls residents' survey

Last week, you should have received an invitation to take a survey about your experience of life at Connaught Hall. The same invitation has been sent to residents in all eight intercollegiate halls – so for the first time we will be able to compare the experiences of students in different halls (we’ve conducted surveys just like this one for several years at Connaught Hall, but this is the first time it’s been sent to residents in other halls).

Your views are important to us and I will read each and every survey that is returned by Connaught Hall residents. You can see from the minutes of Facilities Committee meetings (available online – that we do try to change things in light of the responses to this survey.

So please take the online survey at

It is important that you tell us what we are doing well as well as what you think we could do better, so please do write your comments in the free text sections. Knowing what students like about the Hall helps me to argue the case for continuing those things next year (like keeping the bar open, allowing late parties, Christmas dinner, welcome events, not charging for overnight guests, allowing guests to sign in at any time of day or night, our “mediation” rather than “disciplinary” approach to many neighbour disputes, the hall website...).

If you like these things, tell us! If you don’t, then tell us how we could improve!

As I said, I will read every single one, so I will really appreciate it if you can spare five minutes to give us your feedback.

The closing date is 28 February.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Thank you

I was delighted to come home from work on Saturday night to be greeted by a surprise party for my birthday. Thank you to all the residents who were there and waited for me to arrive home - and to everyone who signed my birthday card. All your good wishes mean a lot to me. Thank you!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Fire alarm & evacuation 09/02/10

The evacuation in the early hours of Tuesday morning was caused by someone activating the "break glass" call point outside the common room on the third floor.

I need to be sure this will not happen again. Evacuating in the middle of the night is obviously a huge inconvenience to the entire Hall community; but frequent false alarms can also engender a "boy who cried wolf" mentality, making this a serious safety issue.

Ideally, I want the person responsible to contact me and tell me what happened; we should be able to come to an arrangement.

It is in everyone's interests that we find out what happened as quickly as possible. If you know something about what happened contact me in confidence with any information.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Applications for readmission

Remember the deadline for applying to come back to Connaught Hall next year is 9am on 8th February.

If you don't have an application form (it should have been emailed to you), contact the Intercollegiate Halls Accommodation Bureau at

Places are strictly limited and must be allocated according to quotas set by the colleges of the University. It is very unusual for anyone to be offered a third year in Hall. Places will not be offered to residents who have not fully paid their Hall fees for term 1; nor will places usually be offered to residents with disciplinary warnings on file.

I can support applications from residents with significant medical or social reasons for wishing to stay for a second year, and those who have made a major positive contribution to the social and community life of the Hall. Please contact me well in advance if you would like to be considered for any of these categories, or if you intend to apply but you fall into one of the excluded groups in the paragraph above: you can email me at or attend one of my open office sessions.

Mediation-Arbitration meetings

Sometimes I receive complaints about other residents' behaviour (usually related to noise) that, whilst irritating or disturbing to the complainant, does not fall under the code of discipline. Because there is no disciplinary fix to some of these issues, they can sometimes become chronic and both sides of the dispute end up feeling frustrated.

During the last few years I have experimented with a means of dispute resolution in these cases called mediation-arbitration. In most cases we have managed to come to a satisfactory conclusion for both parties to the dispute. I just published an information sheet about this process (click here to view). Contact me or one of the Senior Members if you think a meeting like this would be useful in solving any disputes between you and other Hall residents.


Keep up to date with Hall news and events with the latest edition of the Bulletin: click here.

Open office sessions in February

Monday 1 February: 22.15 – 22.45
Tuesday 2 February: 13.00 – 13.45
Saturday 6 February: 17.30 – 18.15
Thursday 18 February: 21.00 – 22.00

These are open sessions in the Warden’s Office on the ground floor. You can drop in without an appointment to discuss anything that is concerning you. If the office door is closed, please wait in reception until the door is opened.

You can make an appointment to see me at a different time by email ( or at

Parties at Connaught Hall

I need your help to ensure that the Resident's Club can continue to organise parties in the bar whilst taking care to safeguard the wellbeing and security of residents, and protect the Hall from damage and unnecessary mess.

The last two parties have left rather more mess and caused more disruption in the rest of the Hall than I would expect. The next party will be on 12 February (for Valentine's Day). The bar will close at 1.30 instead of 2.00, and I should like everyone to bear in mind:

  • Parties are held in the bar only; residents in the rest of the building who do not wish to attend the party should be able to study or sleep if they want to.
  • Only alcoholic drinks purchased at the bar may be consumed in the bar, Bell room, and garden.
  • All guests must be met at reception and signed in by a resident. Residents may be held responsible for their guests' behaviour.
  • The party ends at closing time (usually 2.00). Those who want to continue partying after that need to go out to another venue. Student rooms, the common rooms, and the steps outside the front of the building may not be used for after-parties. The Hall should be as quiet as any other night by 2.20.

I have published new guidance for bar staff and DJs for the Valentine's party:

I will review how parties are organised, the hours at which they are allowed, and how frequently parties may be held, after the Valentines' party. Please help keep mess and noise to a minimum so that I do not have to place restrictions on future parties.