Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
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Loughborough University

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Chief Operating Officer's Annual Report of Loughborough University students in the community 2013/14

24 September 2014

The University and its students contribute widely to the town’s economy, community and social environment.  There are also a number of challenges which need to be appropriately managed.  This report seeks to summarise activity during the academic year 2013/14 following similar reports for 2012/13 and 2011/12.  

Progress and Achievements during the year

Student activity

Once again the year has seen a fantastic commitment by students to make improvements to the local community through their Action volunteering programme and fund-raising through Rag.

  • 2001 student volunteers have given up over 28,112 hours of their time to work on approximately 40 ongoing projects and many more one-off projects. During the last year projects have included painting fences at local schools, community gardening projects, IT sessions for the elderly, teaching drama to adults with learning difficulties and befriending schemes.
  • Rag raised over £1.4 million which was donated to local, national and international charities including the Peter Le Marchant Trust, Mountfields Lodge School, Help for Heroes, Breast Cancer Campaign, Meningitis Research Foundation, Epilepsy Society and Dementia UK.  Over 3000 students were involved in raising the money. 

In May the University was pleased to present the TS Shipman and Hannah Community Prizes to 12 students to recognise and reward them for taking part in community activities.  The students were honoured for their local volunteering and for simply being ‘good neighbours’.

For the third year running a student from the University’s School of the Arts has been chosen to provide art in Queen’s Park in an exciting project with Charnwood Borough Council.

Campaigns and initiatives

The SU Community Development Officer organised a number of successful events as part of their Know Your Neighbour campaign.  These events brought local student and permanent residents together and were a great success.

In May it was announced that the Student Union were part of a new project organised by the NUS and Home Office designed to encourage responsible drinking.  The 12 month pilot project will work towards accreditation under the scheme by promoting responsible alcohol policy and practice.

The University’s Alcohol Culture Working group was launched, the purpose of which is to give strategic consideration to the policy and actions required around alcohol at Loughborough University to ensure a safe, healthy and inclusive environment

The process of providing feedback to individual complainants continued during the year.  The response to this has been overwhelmingly positive.

The data sharing agreement has been in place for a year now.  Officers from the University have worked closely with their colleagues from CBC and the Police to develop and refine working practices. As a consequence of the data sharing there is now a full picture of complaints relating to alleged ASB.  This ‘full picture’ is not comparable statistically to previous years and therefore any attempt to identify an increase in ASB solely on the back of it is not legitimate. All complaints will continue be recorded on the Sentinel database this year and a weekly meeting will take place between the agencies to ensure a joint approach is taken.

The Alcohol Free Zone on campus has been in operation for a year.  It has been reviewed and, although not uniformly effective, the consensus is that it has had a positive benefit.  The AFZ will therefore be taken forward again next academic year.

A restorative justice scheme was introduced in association with the Street Pastors and positive feedback has been received.  This scheme will be continued going forward.

A referral scheme for alcohol and drugs awareness has been established with leading drugs and alcohol charity, Swanswell, has been established.

A specific community consultation exercise was undertaken associated with issues at Ashleigh Drive and Falkner Eggington.  New arrangements will be implemented for new academic year

The University has established a student behaviour group.  The remit of the group is to review data on student behaviour and crime issues and undertake action planning. The group will also review the positive staff and student contributions to the community as part of the University’s commitment to social responsibility.

The University is working to resolve the installation of two mobile CCTV cameras purchased in the summer of 2013. 

Continued Activity

Following requests for more transparency about complaints and discipline the University is considering an enhanced different approach to the reporting system for the academic year 2014/15.  The University continues to work on the detail of this, and further information will be available before the start of the academic year.   Areas being considered include:

  • A procedure for enhanced feedback to individual complainants
  • Provision of a monthly multi-agency ASB report
  • An enhanced annual Chief Operating Officer report

The University is working on amending its disciplinary procedures (in particular Ordinance XVII) and further information on this will also be available before the start of the academic year.

The issue of transient noise is also being considered, though this remains the most difficult issue to tackle and the actions available are limited.

Complaints and discipline statistics – 2013/14

Statistics for the Year

Total complaints

Total disciplines

Major disciplines

Minor disciplines

Community disciplines

832
(+120 on 2012/13)

220
(-123 on 2012/13)

14
(-38 on 2012/13)

206
(-85 on 2012/13)

19 (8 cases pending)
(-57 or -49 on 2012/13)

 Points to note:

  • Year on year comparisons are difficult because the student population changes each year
  • 89% of complaints are about noise/ASB issues
  • 80% of complaints were about issues off campus
  • Trend towards complaints starting in September as some students return earlier for activity like pre-season sport training.
  • Spikes typically at the start of the year and after the end of exams.
  • Significant rise in the street noise complaints being reported (24% of all complaints).  The agencies are unable to substantiate many of these and therefore take through to action.  Ashleigh Drive location was a significant contributory factor in rise in these complaints. 
  • Important to note that the major disciplines in 2012/13 included 26 for the pub crawl in April 2013
  • Community disciplines reflect the pro-active approach being taken after the first complaint (75% of complaints being resolved at this stage)
  • The University continues to employ a range of sanctions including fines, and community service or a combination of the two, which can be suspended. Outcomes will vary considerably depending on the individual case, history and judgement of the University officers involved in the case