Regulation XIX is one of the many regulations that “govern the academic functions of the University and are established and maintained by Senate”. Reg XIX is one of the more well known regulations of the University dictating the running of halls, which affects over 6000 students, predominantly first years. The regulation is a necessary part of university, covering details of Hall Constitutions, thus governing Hall Committees in terms of their duties, discipline and the running of Hall Events.
However, for its many positives there are some serious failings of Regulation XIX. The regulation is ambiguous, with many parts of it ordered difficultly, making it hard to interpret. The difficulty in understanding means that the implementation of Regulation XIX differs between halls, which can and indeed has resulted in different repercussions for those deemed to have broken Reg XIX.
Regulation XIX is also very specific to Hall Committee members. Under Reg XIX 5.1 it is stated that hall events are classed “as any formal or informal gathering on or off-campus where attendance has been coordinated in advance by a member or members of the Hall Committee acting in that capacity”. To me, making this distinction is a worry; by doing so it excludes Fresher Helpers, a group of people that are in a position of responsibility, helping the smooth running of freshers. Whilst I am sure the university has regulations covering the actions of Fresher Helpers in regards to premeditated events that involve the ‘consumption of alcohol as a forfeit’ and ‘drinking competitions of any kind’, it is disappointing that Regulation XIX overlooks this. Excluding Fresher Helpers from the wording of the Regulation puts the hall committees in a precarious position. Does it mean it is the job of the committee to personally police the actions of fresher helpers, with the potential repercussions coming back to the committee, or are the fresher helpers actually able to start ‘drinking games’?
It is also interesting to note that the Regulation XIX 5.4 goes on to say that “Hall Committee members are responsible for taking all reasonable steps to ensure that the above activities [drinking games]are not initiated spontaneously during a Hall event”. Whilst it’s all well and good putting this in writing, can it truly be expected and is it fair for any member of a Hall Committee to be expected to stop a group of freshers partaking in a drinking game? Yes, if the game is getting out of hand, and there is an individual that is clearly feeling uncomfortable with the situation then a committee member should be expected to step in, covered by Reg XIX 5.5, but a flat out ban on any ‘drinking’ games is naïve and unfair.
Regulation XIX is entitled ‘Hall Committees’, which by definition and content it can be seen as only applicable to halls. This outlines Hall Constitutions and Committee Memberships which is only applicable to Halls. Reg XIX 5 only covers hall events, there is no disputing this; it’s titled ‘Hall Events’. So, this brings up a question of what Regulation covers the goings on of Societies and AU Sports Clubs? While all students of Loughborough University are covered by Ordinance XVII, ‘Conduct and Discipline of Students’, there is nothing specific to Societies and AU Clubs along the lines of Regulation XIX point 5. Is this a major failing? Whilst the drinking culture of Loughborough University is slowly being diminished in halls, AU Sports clubs are seen as the last bastion of this drinking culture. Surely if the drinking culture of halls is being addressed through the admittedly ambiguous Regulations that are in place, Loughborough needs to decide whether to treat other groups in the same way. Sporting initiations are a small part of this wider picture, but we’re all aware of the kinds of forceful, or should I say ‘consented- to’ games that can occur during such events, whether we’ve been subjected to them first hand or not.
The Exec Minutes, dated the 20th October, clearly shows that Jess Excell (Union President) is already in meetings with Manuel Alonso (Director of Student Services) about Regulation XIX. A major question is what is being discussed, and who else will be involved in these discussions? Is Regulation XIX being extended to cover the areas that are currently overlooked, such as the inclusion of Fresher Helpers? If this is the case who is being consulted on this, with the ambiguity found throughout the Regulation are Wardens and Sub-Wardens being consulted on this, as well as the Hall Committees and other high up student bodies?
Another major question is whose job is it to enforce Regulation XIX, not only in reference to 5.4 and Hall Events involving alcohol, but the entire running of the hall. Whilst the Wardens and Sub-Wardens of the hall can ensure that the main parts of Reg XIX relating to the duties of the committee and the hall constitution are abided by, grey areas can appear. Perhaps responsibilities will be further outlined in the future, but, will it stretch to Wardens, or will the responsibility lie primarily with Hall Chairs and their committees, or will it simply remain as ambiguous as it is today?
Label will keep you up to date with any developments of this Regulation and the likely effects of it on your hall life as and when they happen. Feel free to join in the debate by commenting below or tweeting @labelonline.