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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Senior Member guidance

In response to the residents' survey this year, new guidance will be issued to Senior Members for 2012-3. A selection of comments are reproduced below:

I know the Senior Member on my hall but I have never seen him interact with people on the hall outside of greetings in passing. I'm not really sure what my floor senior member does.
  Some Senior Members need to be reminded of the boundaries that ought to be maintained between students and themselves.
Most of the senior members are approachable and polite, but sadly this is not true for all of them.

Most of the Senior Members are not around much but the ones that are around are really lovely and helpful.

The new guidance for Senior Members is contained in thirteen volumes so cannot all be reproduced here, but the expectations the Warden places on Senior Members include:

The Senior Member role is a voluntary position, but it is a very substantial commitment. After your studies, we expect you to make this Senior Member role your priority: it should be more important to you than any other employment, hobbies, or social activities. We expect you to devote time, thought, and energy to this position.

Above all, Senior Members must be visible, recognisable, and approachable.

You must make face-to-face contact during term 1 with every resident on the floor to which you are assigned.

You must eat in the dining hall at least three nights per week, and always when you are the Duty Senior Member.

You must take action to deal with noise or safety problems in your area of the Hall even when you are not on call.

If you do not have leave of absence, you are required to attend all major Hall social events, meetings, and fire drills as designated by the Warden.
You must deal with all issues and complaints fairly, politely, professionally, sensitively, and in a timely manner.

It is never acceptable to behave in a rude, threatening, intimidating, coercive, abusive, flirtatious, or intimate way with residents.

Confidentiality is a cornerstone of professional behaviour, demonstrating respect for residents and their personal information, and must be observed at all times.

Never spread gossip, nor discuss in public any information to which you are privy because of your Senior Member role: if you are unsure whether you were given information as a Senior Member or as a friend, always assume it is because you are a Senior Member. This very specifically includes – but is not limited to – private information about residents and sensitive operational information, particularly where disclosure may lead to embarrassment, distress, or panic.

Allegations of favouritism are damaging to the reputation of the whole team: it is very important that as a Senior Member you are not seen to deal with your friends more favourably or leniently than other residents.


Never engage in any kind of intimate relationship with a resident, nor behave in any way that might imply physical or sexual attraction to a resident.

Never be alone with a distressed, intoxicated, or unwell resident in any room with the door closed: if you are called to see a resident in their room, take someone with you of the same sex as the resident concerned. If this is impossible, prop the door open while you meet them.
The Senior Members are required to assist the Warden with welfare & pastoral care, discipline & conflict resolution (including noise complaints), re-admissions, out-of-hours emergency cover, and community & social life including the Residents’ Club Committee and Hall bar. The Warden and Senior Members are here to offer support and guidance with problems such as academic difficulties, health or emotional issues, social concerns, and disputes between residents. The Warden and his team endeavour to deal with any problems sensitively and confidentially and will never discriminate against anyone because of their age, race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.

Please do talk to a member of the team if you want a bit of extra help and support with anything that is bothering you. No problem is too great or too small.