Goldsmiths College is a large organisation comprising some 10,000 students. It occupies a single campus location in New Cross with sports facilities in the London Borough of Bexley and has a number of halls of residence in the surrounding area. Goldsmiths is aware of the impact its presence has on adjacent neighbourhoods. In addition, the many students who live in the area also have an impact on local communities.
The College believes that overall, these impacts are positive. However, it also recognises that there will always be planning, transport and other issues to be addressed and that problems can occasionally occur over student behaviour. The College is committed to being a good neighbour by listening to and communicating with local residents, seeking to avert difficulties and encouraging high standards of conduct by all members of the College community.
Students in the community
The nature of the campus is such that students are integrated with the local community throughout their learning. Most students from second year onwards will be living in privately rented accommodation in mixed communities within the local community.
Approximately half of first year undergraduates live in College managed accommodation. Staff within the Accommodation Office remind students of the importance of acting in a considerate and responsible manner and undertake relevant disciplinary action regarding disturbance complaints from the community.
Goldsmiths students are independent adults and the College is not and cannot act in loco parentis. Nonetheless, students are made fully aware of the standard of behaviour required by the College especially in terms of noise, waste and recycling management and anti-social behaviour, whether they are living in University owned and managed accommodation, third party or in privately owned accommodation.
As part of their induction students are told about these responsibilities before they arrive and reminded of them thereafter.
Students are subject to the same controls and laws as any other citizens and the College cannot usurp the responsibilities of the Police or other agencies. However, given its desire to be a good neighbour and to safeguard its reputation, the College will formally communicate with students who are known to have behaved in an unacceptable manner. The College’s Community Behaviour Policy details the steps that can be taken in this regard and how this links to our Student Conduct Regulations.
The College employs a Stakeholder Engagement Manager, a Campus Life Manager and a team of Campus Support Officers to focus on this work. The objective is to minimise examples of anti-social behaviour and, where it occurs, to avoid any repetition of it. The College can, in such cases, take a range of disciplinary actions against a student if necessary, seeking to secure a change in behaviour. All complaints will be treated very seriously and there is a process in place to address and monitor reported problems.
Noise, nuisance and disturbance
The very nature of a College’s activities means that a certain amount of noise generation is unavoidable, whether this is associated with buildings and plant or with the movement of large numbers of people.
Where noise is predictable and persistent (such as that caused by plant and machinery), the College commits to managing the problem proactively in order to minimise any disturbance that may be caused.
Activities, such as construction, that cause noise, which cannot be reduced to a reasonable level will be constrained to Local Authority approved hours only.
Noise created by people and planned events will be managed to limit any nuisance and disturbance caused, for example by locating noise-creating activities so that people disperse in several directions, before leaving the campus. Where this is not possible, at sites such as the Students’ Union or residences, consideration will be shown to neighbours in determining the timing of events and any security presence required.
Waste and recycling
The College runs recycling schemes at all its residences and is continually exploring ways of increasing student awareness and new ways of reducing waste. Students in the community are alerted to their responsibilities in respect of waste and recycling. The College finances additional services at the end of the academic year to ensure that student waste is recycled, donated or collected.
Security and crime
Goldsmiths is an open campus. Its grounds are open to the public and it offers access to a gym and facilities such as Santander bank, the Curzon Goldsmiths cinema and access to Library facilities for local residents.
The College makes every effort to ensure its campus is safe and secure. Nevertheless, students are advised to take sensible precautions for their own safety when walking around, particularly late at night.
In response to the fact that College buildings offer a target for burglars there is a 24-hour security patrol of all of the College’s estate. The patrol adopts a highly visible presence in order to act as a deterrent.
Students living in University accommodation and private accommodation are provided with advice about security and crime prevention.
The large staff and student population has a positive impact on the local economy. There is increased trading activity in areas such as New Cross, Deptford and Brockley and local residents benefit from the range of businesses supported. Currently, around 40% of Goldsmiths suppliers are based in London, with over £8m being spent annually by the College with suppliers based locally in south east London.
The College’s main purposes are to educate and research and it does not regard retail trading as part of its core business so, apart from the necessary provision of internal catering for its own staff and students, the College will avoid competing for trade with any local businesses.
Community action by members of the College
Students at Goldsmiths are encouraged to take a broad interest in the local area and to engage with their local community at many levels.
Co-ordinated by the Careers Service, and in partnership with the Students’ Union, they undertake an enormous range of voluntary activities.
Students and staff are also involved in many other academic and sporting activities and also work closely with local schools. Our outreach work with primary schools reached more than 1,500 young people last year, while our work with secondary schools engaged more than 2,000 young people.
The College welcomes local residents to many public events and free public lectures, and seeks to promote these through active marketing.
Communication, liaison and partnerships
The College listens to and communicates with the general public, including its immediate neighbours, so that problems and issues can be highlighted. Any complaints from the public will be acknowledged and an indication will be given of the steps that are likely to be taken. The College’s senior management will monitor the range of issues raised in this way and will take account of this in setting future policies.