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Sunday, 15 February 2015

Guidance for residents who have been the subject of noise complaints

If you have been the subject of more than one or two noise complaints, you should recently have received a letter from the Senior Member on your floor. The back of the letter includes some tips on how to avoid any more complaints from your neighbours.

We understand that most of the time when people disturb their neighbours in Hall, it is unintentional – and often those making noise do not realise how loud they are being, or how much the sound might be travelling and disturbing others. So we are trying to raise awareness and help everyone get on better together, in the hope that none of these problems will escalate into disciplinary matters.
This is especially important as we move towards more exams and coursework deadline over the coming months.


Noise disturbance generally creates the most dissatisfaction with Hall life, and is the commonest reason for disciplinary action. Connaught Hall is a large hall of residence of mostly first-year undergraduate students in a busy part of London. So we do not expect complete silence all the time. But we do expect that everyone will be sensitive to the needs of their neighbours for quiet time.

We should all be able to study or rest without unreasonable disturbance from others at any time. Residents — or their guests — who are unable to adhere to these guidelines will face disciplinary action and possible removal from the Hall.

You must make no noise audible from outside your room between 11.00 pm and 7.00 am.

Excessively loud music and other noise are not allowed at any time of day. The Warden or his nominated Deputy (normally the Duty Senior Member) shall be the arbiter of whether noise is excessive, and his/her decision shall be final.

If your neighbour asks you to be quieter, you must respond politely and cooperatively.


Most of us have at least eight immediate neighbours: one either side, three above, and three below. But when you’re thinking about noise, you should consider everyone on your section of corridor to be a neighbour, too.

Talk to one another

Respect others’ needs for quiet time: they may want to sleep or study at different times from you. Being unable to sleep or work when you need to can make you annoyed and stressed, and can seriously impact on your quality of life.

So agree on quiet times with your neighbours, and other times when it might be ok to make a bit more noise. You can only do this by asking them: “Am I too noisy sometimes? How can I make it better for you?”

Be polite and try to help if your neighbour knocks on your door and asks you to quieten down; next time it might be you asking for quiet!

Think carefully about how sound travels

Our walls, floors, and ceilings are quite thin and transmit sound readily. You don’t have to be having a huge party to be making too much noise.

It’s easy to cause noise for your neighbours without realising it, especially for anyone who lives underneath you: something dropping on the floor can make a really loud bang downstairs!

Please, whenever you are up after 11pm, think very carefully if what you are doing might be keeping your neighbour awake, especially if you have visitors in your room. 

Take your friends to a common room at night

If you have more than one visitor after 11pm, it’s best to go to one of the common rooms, so as to avoid disturbing anyone.

Be extra quiet when you’re in the corridors after 11pm

Noise travels further than you think, so talk quietly in corridors; and don’t run or shout in hallways or stairwells. One loud shriek or giggle could wake up everyone on the corridor.

Close doors quietly

Pull doors closed quietly and push the handle down so the lock doesn’t click, especially at night. Slamming doors (especially when you have several friends in your room, maybe going to and from the bathroom) are one of the commonest noise complaints.

Be quiet when you’re outside the building, too

In the garden, keep noise down at all times: even a little noise here echoes around the courtyard and can disturb people in rear-facing bedrooms.

Outside the front of the building, don’t shout late at night: you can wake up almost half the Hall whose bedrooms face onto the square.

Contacting the Warden

How to request an appointment

Check this calendar for my availability:

Choose the week, month, or agenda tab at top right - whichever view you find easiest to read –

My available time is divided into half-hour slots. 

You can choose any "available" slot that is convenient for you. 
If you need to talk about something very sensitive or complex, it's a good idea to request two consecutive slots, so we can spend an hour together.

Send an email to request the appointment time you want:

Please give me at least 12 hours' notice for the appointment slot, so I can make sure I am in the Hall at that time (although I am available, if no one requests an appointment, I may not be in Hall).

My "open office" sessions (where I would sit for an hour or so in my office with the door open, usually in the evening) were not well used this year. Many sessions, I did not see a single resident. But residents were still asking for appointments to see me at times outside my open office sessions.

So my open office sessions are cancelled for the rest of this year. The Warden role is not office-based, so if no one comes to my open office sessions, I am left sitting with nothing to do. That isn't a good use of my time or your accommodation fees.

Consequently, instead of open office sessions, I have developed this new way of requesting an appointment to meet with me, using a calendar that shows when I am available - so you can choose a time that is most convenient for you.

Other ways of getting in contact:

How the Warden's time is used - February update

I can only say that my previous post did not have the desired effect, and an updated view of how I have been spending my time this term so far looks like this:

This is not what I enjoy about my role as Warden. Residents this year have not seen me working with them at social events and community building because all my time has been tied up with disciplinary issues. I am sorry this has been the case and once again, would like to ask everyone to help me. The Hall community as a whole this year could be getting much better value for money out of the service I can provide!

  • 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.