The Quiet Period does not work

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Exams are thankfully over or nearly over for the majority of us, and it’s time to celebrate getting through another stress-filled year. The University’s ‘Quiet Period’ policy, however, has caused more than a headache for a lot of students who failed to see it properly enforced. County Main residents and academic staff whose offices are in the County Main building had to put up with unavoidable building work earlier this term during the ‘Quiet Period’, with several informally reporting complaints to SCAN. It seems ironic that students are forced to minimise their own noise when the University insists on building work anyway.

I for one am exasperated at the whole ‘Quiet Period’ malarkey. In the grand scheme of things, the policy is entirely meaningless. For those who go out at night and return to residences at early hours in the morning, I can assure you that minimising noise is the last thing on their minds. I have frequently been kept awake by drunken gatherings in the kitchen above me, usually between three and five a.m. When you consider that I have a Saturday job that starts at 7.30am or when I want to be rested for an exam the following day, you can imagine that I have been less than pleased. The ‘Quiet Period’ has done nothing to change such a lack of consideration.

Fellow students’ lack of consideration is one thing though; inappropriately timed building work is another. Although the County Main building work was unavoidable and could not wait until summer, it defeats the point of students keeping their own noise to a minimum. County Residence Officer Jacqui Brian reiterated the University’s ‘Quiet Period’ policy in the last issue of SCAN, saying: “‘Quiet Period’ is designed to keep noise down in and around the residences. It does not include essential grounds work and the usual day-to-day running of the University.”

If this is indeed the University’s policy then the whole thing is undermined by disruptions such as emergency building work. The building of the UPP offices, who manage Alexandra Park residences as well as County and Grizedale townhouses, would surely be more disruptive and frustrating for students than the odd occasion where a neighbour’s music is being played too loud. At least confident students could ask their neighbour to respect the ‘Quiet Period’; with building work, students and staff have no choice but to suffer it.

Also, in particular for residents at Bowland Hall such as myself, the timing of grass-cutting is highly disruptive, if again unavoidable. The flat upstairs may disturb my sleep, but recently it has been far more frustrating that the University’s grass-cutters carry out their jobs at early hours in the morning. The issue is exacerbated by my room being on the ground floor, and I have lost count of the number of times that I have been trying to get in some decent revision but have been disturbed by the noise of grass-cutting.

Such noise, although admittedly unavoidable, renders the ‘Quiet Period’ policy completely defunct. The University cannot expect students to minimise noise when it is creating such major disturbances for students anyway. Despite notices saying that excessive student noise could result in fines during the ‘Quiet Period’, I have seen no noticeable difference in any of my neighbour residents’ behaviour to respect the fact that students are cramming revision in at this particular time. The whole policy is unrealistic to enforce, both concerning student noise and building work.

The only resolution is to scrap the thing altogether. For the majority of students, surely it is common sense to respect other students during the exam period, as everyone is in the same situation of wanting peace and quiet to do their work. If the ‘Quiet Period’ did not exist then the controversy over ill-timed building work would not have arisen so much in the first place. By enforcing this policy the University is digging itself a hole, and we would all be better off without it.

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