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Saturday, 12 November 2011

Response to complaint about noise & diversity issues

I have received several replies by email and on Facebook to this post about a complaint made in a response to my "two quick questions" survey for November:
http://connaughthall.blogspot.com/2011/11/cultural-diversity-noise-complaint-in.html


The anonymous complainant said:
"I would recommend more strict enforement of after hour silence and
have a corridor monitor on most nights. The balance is too much towards
having mindless fun and this needs to be changed by the weak leadership. Also
residents of black and ethnic minority background needs to be more enfranchised
and protected, maybe you could have a diversity officer on the student
council."


I have considered this complaint in light of my own observations and the replies to my previous post. My response follows.
  • There is no evidence that the overall balance in Hall is too far towards recreation at the expense of rest and/or study.
  • There can be times when noise causes disturbance and disruption, but we have a well established, effective policy for dealing with this, set out at page 38 of the Residents' Handbook (http://handbook.connaught-hall.org.uk).
  • Senior Members have responsibility for monitoring noise levels in their designated areas of the building. Moreover, sll residents are encouraged to discuss noise problems at an early stage with their neighbours, facilitied by the Warden or a Senior Member if they fell unconfortable doing this alone.
  • I believe that the introduction of student "noise monitors" on every corridor would be divisive and insidious, bringing more harm than benefit to the Hall community.
  • In the last three years, no complaints have been made about failures to protect the rights and interests of residents from black or ethnic minority backgrounds. Of course any such complaint would be dealt with as a most serious and urgent matter, and this responsibility would rest with me as the Warden. I am proud of our record on equality and diversity. We are the only intercollegiate hall to display an equality statement on public noticeboards: http://www.connaught-hall.org.uk/documents/Connaught-Hall-discrimination%20poster.pdf.
  • The Constitution of the Residents' Club already requires the Clerk to the Club & Senior Treasurer "to ensure that the Club is operated in such a way that promotes equal opportunities and without discrimination on the basis of age, race, sex, creed, disability, political belief, social class, or sexual orientation". See http://constitution.connaught-hall.org.uk.
  • I am not persuaded by the argument for a whole new post to monitor diversity issues but it may not be unreasonable to require the President or Secretary to take on a proactive diversity promotion role. I will consult with the Residents' Club Committee on this.