Newcastle University plans to improve community relations
Newcastle University has held a meeting to plan how to improve student-permanent resident relations in Jesmond.
Marc Lintern, director of employability and student success at Newcastle University, chaired a meeting of Newcastle University staff on February 15th to discuss the problems between students and permanent residents. The meeting was organised before Christmas.
Several definitive proposals were put forward at the meeting.
One of the things the university is very keen to do is to continue to encourage responsible behaviour.
Lintern told the meeting that sanctions against students – of which JesmondLocal exclusively revealed there have been more than £27,000 worth of fines and 1,000 sanctions since 2014 – do not always help.
Instead, the university is looking to educate students, particularly first year students moving out of halls for their second year of tuition. The university will create a welcome pack including advice, bin times, contact numbers and how to be a considerate neighbour. The university says it already has clear guidance for students but the plan going forward is presenting that in a more student-friendly way.
Lintern also told the meeting the university was also looking to expand the Leave Newcastle Happy campaign that allows students to donate unwanted items to charity at the end of the year rather than simply dump them. (End-of-term fly tipping has been noted as an issue in Jesmond for many years.)
Measures such as this will require further planning but the university is currently in discussions with the council regarding logistics and organisation.
Additionally, as JesmondLocal revealed on March 1st, Newcastle City Council plan to introduce more than 800 communal bins in Jesmond this year, and hope to expand the scheme to other wards. The university hopes that this will help with the issue of litter and want to get the whole community involved in such clean-ups.
Following JesmondLocal’s ‘Common Ground’ debate, Newcastle University acknowledged residents’ frustrations at the lack of feedback around disciplinary procedures when complaints were made.
The university said it can let residents know if it was a Newcastle University student involved – though attendees at the February debate indicated they had not been able to ascertain where students were from when they asked.
If a student was involved, the university can inform residents a disciplinary process has been followed. However, due to data protection it is not be able to divulge what the outcome was. The university also stressed that the process for disciplining takes time to collect evidence, to gather the appropriate people together and to talk with the students concerned. Lintern said residents may not get a response immediately or the following day but “they will get a reply once the process has been followed” and everyone who complains will be given an update.
A further meeting will be held this month where the university will iron out any logistical issues with the council but the university is also very keen to showcase the good aspects of students living in Jesmond. Lintern told JesmondLocal that “the vast majority of students are considerate, good neighbours”.
He added that “we [Newcastle University] are very concerned about this…we definitely want to do as much as we can to improve the situation for everybody.”