As Hallowe'en approaches, the Provosts of the University and the Students' Union President have issued a joint message calling on all students to behave responsibly over the holiday period.
The text of the joint message is given below.
Many of you will be celebrating Halloween tonight and throughout the weekend.
However it is essential you do this in a manner which respects the communities in which you live, the university itself and yourselves.
The University of Ulster has built up a good reputation for academic excellence and also has a strong regional presence. We are a multi-campus University with four campuses throughout Northern Ireland. Many students live in purpose built accommodation on our campuses or in the private rented sector. Some district councils have a high concentration of students in their areas. But while students may be the primary residents in some of those communities, the actions of a minority in those areas have undermined the good reputation of students in general and of the University too. Long term residents in some communities where students live have complained about on-street drinking, disrespectful behaviour, noisy parties and rowdy behaviour on streets.
As you prepare to celebrate Halloween, we would like to remind you the Student Charter of the University of Ulster – to which you signed up when you became a student - states that “you will not behave in an anti-social manner, on or off campus and that you will behave in a responsible manner in respect of the accommodation you occupy, relations with co-habitants, neighbours and local community. Anti-social behaviour may result in disciplinary action”.
Disciplinary action is a very serious matter. Written warnings or fines go on your academic record. Anti social behaviour resulting in a criminal prosecution is even worse, with a criminal record affecting your employment prospects and any plans you may have to travel abroad.
It is also important that you ensure that any friends or relatives you have staying with you also treat residents with respect and they behave in a responsible manner.
It is essential those of you living off campus within local communities remember you are living in close proximity to long term residents who have a different lifestyle to yourself. In order to maintain good relations and ensure the whole community lives in harmony, you must respect your neighbours. That means ensuring they are not kept awake or terrified by noisy parties or rowdy or aggressive behaviour on the streets.
The University of Ulster and its Students’ Union will continue to work closely with our partners from statutory and public bodies along with local community associations to address the complex issues of students living within the communities.
It is important to acknowledge students can also be the victims of anti-social behaviour. We would, therefore, urge you while celebrating to take sensible precautions for your own safety and the security of your property.
Thank you for reading and responding positively to this appeal. We hope you will have a rewarding and fulfilling University career and that your time at University of Ulster is memorable for all the right reasons.
Professor Alastair Adair, Provost of Jordanstown and Belfast
Professor Robert Hutchinson, Provost of Coleraine
Professor Deirdre Heenan, Acting Provost of Magee
Adrian Kelly, Students' Union president