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Saturday, 14 May 2011

The future of student support in halls of residence

On 9 May 2011, the University of London informed Wardens that it intends to make significant cuts to the student support service in the halls of residence: it proposes to make all Wardens and Vice-Wardens redundant, and for the management of Senior Members to be transferred to the residences administration staff, who have no background, experience, or interest in dealing with social, welfare, community, or disciplinary matters.

I believe the University's proposal is wrong and dangerous. I think it threatens the very healthy and enjoyable community and social life from which intercollegiate halls residents currently benefit, and may be harmful to the welfare of more vulnerable students.

This is at a time when Hall fees are set to rise by well above inflation next year, and English students will soon start paying up to £9,000 for their tuition. If next year's residents can expect not to be supported by a Warden, and not have a thriving Residents' Club and vibrant Hall community, why should they pay even more than they pay this year? And why should next year's freshers not be given the opportunity to apply for a Hall like Connaught Hall - different in so many ways from the accommodation provided by UCL, Kings, LSE, etc.?

Students should expect more choice, more support, and better value for money. Removing the Wardens diminishes all three.

For the sake of future generations of students, I believe we must fight against the University's proposals.


At www.connaught-hall.org.uk/support.pdf you can find a full-colour booklet explaining the University’s proposals and exactly what it will mean for future residents of Connaught Hall.

If you agree with me that Wardens add something distinctive, useful, and desirable to the student experience in the intercollegiate halls, please act now: send an email expressing your support to mail@hallwardens.org. Also, please sign the online petition at http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gopetition.com%2Fpetitions%2Fpetition-to-oppose-the-re-structuring-of-the-pastoral-s.html&h=d6700.
Parents - especially those of international students - often are relieved to find there is someone in Hall to look after their sons & daughters as they leave home for the first time, so please ask your parents to write in, and to sign the petition, too.
There isn't much time: the University proposes to wipe away formal student support in the halls of residence by the end of this academic year, and the final decision will be made before the end of May. Please help us to persuade them that they are wrong.

I will continue to fight tirelessly for what I believe is the right level of student support in the halls of residence. I will be very grateful if I can count on your support.

Remember to visit www.connaught-hall.org.uk/support.pdf for more detail and a guide to how you can help. Also review my letter to Dame Jenny Abramsky, the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of London, at www.connaught-hall.org.uk/abramsky-letter.pdf.