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Friday, 19 December 2014

How the Warden's time is used in Hall - and how to improve your Hall experience in terms 2 & 3

There has been a significant change this year in how my time at Connaught Hall is spent. The graphic below is based on the amount of new correspondence in my email folders about different activities. It compares how much time I have spent on eight different areas of activity in term 1 of 2014-15, compared with the average year.

Discipline (investigation, meetings, disciplinary panels & hearings, appeals, letter writing, and fine administration) and responding to formal complaints have taken up much more of my time this year than is usual.

The amount of time have to spend on the Hall is fixed, so other activities lose out from this increase in complaints and disciplinary work. Some areas of activity are pretty fixed (like recruiting and training senior members, and attending central University meetings) so the two major things that I've had to cut this year are:

  • service improvement projects. Facilities Committee, suggestion box, and responding to residents' routine enquiries; and
  • Hall community & social life activities (organising & attending events, supporting the Residents' Club Committee).
Ultimately, you, the residents, pay for the service I provide for you in Hall, through your accommodation fees. I should much rather use my time to support you through difficult patches, improve the overall service we provide in Hall, and promote a positive, supportive, social community that everyone can benefit from, than trawl through one disciplinary case after another. I am usually a community leader here in Hall; this year, I feel like a policeman. I don't enjoy that relationship with our residents, and I am sure it is not the best use of your accommodation fees.

If you share my view that it's better for me to spend time on activities that benefit all our residents, rather than issuing fines, responding to complaints, and chairing disciplinary panels, I need your help!

  • From the start of the new term in January, work with me and my team of Senior Members. We're here to help you make the most of your time in London and at Connaught Hall. We're not the "bad cops"! (Unless you decide that's what you want us to do with your fees.)
  • Help me rebuild a positive Hall community. 
  • Contribute to our events.
  • Help us work out what activities you want organised in Hall, and work with us to organise them.
  • Talk to your neighbours. Find out if there is anything you can do to make their time in Hall better. Have you been doing anything that annoyed them all last term? Tell them if you need their help with anything.
  • Use our Hall bar. It's a valuable social space, but it won't survive without your custom and support. Don't drink your own alcohol in the bar, Bell room, or garden.
  • Only smoke in the designated smoking area (in the garden), or on the pavement outside, well away from the main entrance.
  • Keep quiet after 11pm.
  • Don't go out onto balconies on the first floor.
  • Be respectful of everyone around you. Remember our positive diversity message:
This is a safe space for everyone. Please join us in respecting and celebrating all our residents, staff, and guests, of every age, race, religion, sexuality, nationality, disability, and gender identity.

Finally, let me draw your attention to our goals & values statement. Help us work with you to deliver these for you.
We aim to provide a secure, supportive, and friendly environment in which our residents can study and socialise.

We hope that all our residents will call Connaught Hall “home”, and take many positive memories and good friends with them when they leave.
By encouraging our residents to participate in and contribute to the Hall community, we hope that they will learn to be self-directed and self-disciplined in their behaviour.

We aim to promote a spirit of neighbourliness and togetherness in our Hall community: an attitude that we can all take with us when we move on to other, wider neighbourhoods and communities.
The needs of our residents, within the necessary limitations of good order, finance, and safety, take priority over other considerations at all times.
We endeavour to help residents wherever we can. If we can reasonably say “yes” within the rules, we will not say “no”.
We always strive to act fairly, honestly, and transparently.
We deal with any problems sensitively and confidentially.

We do not tolerate personal harassment, nor discrimination against anyone because of their age, race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.