Our commitment to the local area
The University is committed to encouraging students to respect our neighbours in the community and we have a number of measures in place to try and minimise disturbance to local residents. These measures are discussed and reviewed regularly. They include:
- ‘Welcome Meetings’ for all students when they join St Mary’s reminding them that our campus is located in a residential area and urging them to act in a considerate, respectful manner (particular emphasis is placed on behaviour, litter and parking issues). This message is also reiterated by visiting Police Officers who also speak to students on site
- Reinforcement of these notions throughout students’ time at the University through:
- Regular Hall meetings for resident students
- Notices on the internal student portal and Students’ Union website
- Messages via our student radio station and posters around campus
- Presence of Resident Mentors and Senior Residents living on site
- Messages on social media ahead of significant events
- A training day held for all our sports clubs’ and societies’ officers run by the Students’ Union and in discussion with local residents
- Regular meetings between Senior Management and the Strawberry Hill Residents Association
- Regular partnership meetings between the local police (including the Safer Neighbourhood Team), core group of University and Students’ Union staff and representatives of Strawberry Hill Residents' Association (SHRA)
- Cooperation with the licensing authorities and legal compliance with licensing laws by the Students’ Union bar
- More campus CCTV has been installed and an investment made in body cameras for Security and Resident Mentors for use as necessary
- Guidelines regarding acceptable behaviour for both on and off campus outlined in our handbooks, “St Mary’s Student Charter” and “Student Disciplinary Procedures”
- A robust and efficient Student Disciplinary Procedure to quickly deal with students that are identified as having caused a disruption in the neighbourhood, and to impose appropriate sanctions
- During term time the University operates "Street Patrols", which are additional St Mary's Security staff that patrol the surrounding streets on the nights of big events. These patrols are essentially a preventative measure to remind students of their responsibilities regarding minimal noise levels and good behaviour, but can also be used reactively if quick deployment is needed. These Street Patrols have proved very effective and have been welcomed by students, residents and the police.
As a result of these measures, the vast majority of our students behave in a respectful manner when leaving or returning to the campus. However, in the event that we or others are able to identify people engaging in anti-social behaviour or criminal damage in the local area as being our students, the appropriate disciplinary action will be taken by St Mary’s and the Students’ Union (at the conclusion of any criminal proceedings), which can lead to expulsion from the University.
In our discussions with the local Police we are also aware that other groups of young people move through the neighbourhood and are not distinguishable from St Mary’s students. Identifying those responsible for anti-social behaviour and criminal damage is always difficult and unfortunately without evidence of those responsible we are unable to take any action, which is very frustrating for all concerned. Nonetheless, we continue our commitment to our neighbours in doing all we can to prevent disturbance or damage to property.
Complaints regarding St Mary's student's living in the local community
St Mary’s University values its relationship with the local community and expects that students of St Mary’s who are living in the community will be respectful to their neighbours. However, if you are experiencing problems with neighbours who are St Mary’s students, there are some guidelines to help you resolve the issue.
It is always better if you can resolve the problems informally, and many noise (and other) problems can be resolved this way. In most cases you should first approach your neighbour(s) directly about the matter as they may not be aware that they are causing a disturbance. If your neighbour is a St Mary’s student, you can contact St Mary’s University email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to report the matter and we can meet with the student(s) to make them aware that they are causing a disturbance and discuss ways that they can avoid doing so again in future.
If you know who the Landlord or letting agent is for the property, it is also advisable to contact them to make them aware of the situation as there may be a condition in their tenancy agreement that relates to unacceptable noise/behaviour.
Please note that St Mary’s University is unable to take any formal action against its students as a result of their behaviour without appropriate evidence such as photos or videos, council reports, police reports. Therefore if the problem is a re-occurring issue, we would recommend keeping a diary as this will help us to deal with the situation appropriately. There are useful guidance notes on the Richmond council website to help you complete an accurate diary of residential nuisance.
If the problem continues, Richmond Council has a duty to investigate complaints regarding any statutory nuisance from a neighbour's premises that is seriously affecting your right to enjoy your own premises. Richmond Council defines a Statutory Nuisance as:
“A statutory nuisance is not simply something that annoys you - it is something that causes a serious and unreasonable interference with your right to enjoy your property”
The Council will then make a decision based on what the average reasonable person would find unacceptable in order to determine if it is a statutory nuisance or not.
If you are experiencing problems with antisocial behaviour, you should contact your local neighbourhood policing team. If you wish to record an official complaint with St Mary's regarding anti-social behaviour, please fill in our Community Complaint Form.
If you urgently need to contact the security office, please contact 020 8240 4335. Please be aware that this number should only be used in an emergency situation.