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Responses to your questions

Last updated 27/11/2018

COLLEGE LIFE

Q: Would D&E residents be able to get a prospective timeline and other information on building works going on around us?

The Bursar is currently in the process of putting together a timeline for these renovations. Liv (Vice President Internal) has emailed her to find out when and where this will be published.

 

Q: Could we get notifications if an event under the D&E accommodation is booked?

A: Liv (Vice-President Internal) passed this message onto Paul Coleman (Catering and Conferencing Manager), who would like to apologise for the noise the recent event in the Fellows’ Dining Room caused. He assured her that this event was a very last minute, and that such events would not normally be held during term time. This should not happen again.

 

Q: Would it be at all possible to get fire alarm testing moved later in the day? 

A: The HUS address this with Heads of Department every year and have received the following answer. The fire alarm tests are programmed to occur on Thursday mornings, as this is the most convenient time for the college for them to occur. They can’t take place any later in the day, as the alarms would interrupt the general working of the college, including supervisions and meetings. Alarms can’t occur in the evening as this would be outside of hours. An extra Porter is timetabled to work every Thursday morning, as it takes two Porters to conduct the fire drills. Furthermore, the printed conferencing booklets say that the drills take place on Thursday mornings. Last year, Miranda (President) asked staff whether the fire alarm could be moved to a different morning. This request was denied.

 

Q: The single most beneficial thing this college could do for my experience here is to get a college cat. John’s, Girton, Pembroke all have cats. Where’s our cat?

A: The HUS have tried in the past to persuade the college to introduce a college pet. Senior Staff have listed the following reasons as to why this cannot happen:

  1. It would require a member of staff to be available all year round to look after the pet. The HUS cannot be responsible for its welfare, as students return home during vacations. Similarly, members of staff take leave.
  2. College would be concerned that the pet might get into a room in college, and then be locked in there over the holidays, without any food or water.
  3. Not all of Homerton’s accommodation requires card access, and therefore the pet would be able to enter students’ rooms. This would be a problem for anyone with allergies.
  4. Some pets, particularly a cat, would pose a danger to the College ducks
  5. Foxes roam Homerton’s grounds, which might threaten the safety of the college pet.

However, keep an eye out for George the cat, who is a resident of Blinco Grove but likes to make day trips to Homerton!

 

Q: Why can we only have guests for three nights a term? 
A: The HUS has consulted with the Accommodation Officer and Assistant Bursar regarding this question, and we have received the following information in response:
In the Student Handbook (available on Nexus), it states that “All overnight guests are to be signed in at the Lodge and in the relevant section of the Signing Out book. This is for fire regulations.  […] The length of stay of occasional guests must not exceed three successive nights. Lengths of stay beyond this time will be considered exceptional, and must be paid for. Students are wholly responsible for the behaviour of their guests at all times.” This is the agreed Homerton College Policy for students staying in College accommodation. Virtually all rooms are are designed for single occupancy use and specifically for students, which is why they are exempt from Council Tax. Fees for accommodation are calculated for one person occupying the room for the year (water, electricity, heating, lighting). Also, additional residents put wear and tear on other facilities such as kitchens.
So while students may only have guests for up to three nights in a row, this is not limited to just three nights per term. There are various legal and practical reasons why three successive nights is the limit for having overnight guests. However, students can very often book a temporary additional room for a guest by contacting the Accommodation Officer directly by emailing accommodation@homerton.cam.ac.uk.

 

WELFARE

 

Q: Is there anyway we could please have a sign, similar to the one asking whether we want our towels changed, that indicates whether we want our room cleaned? 

A: Miranda (President) has met with Penny and Donna to discuss this issue. The reason why students are not given a sign is that it should not be a regular occurrence for a bedroom to not be cleaned. The College has cleanliness and hygiene levels to maintain throughout the year, which is why your room must be cleaned at least once a fortnight. This means that if one week you ask for your room to not be cleaned, the next week the housekeeping staff will have to clean your room. If you would prefer for one week that your room is not cleaned, you can write a note to your cleaner and put it on your door. However, for the reasons stated above you may not do this for two weeks in a row. 

 

Q: Why are vomit charges at least £50? Why are these charges not included on the bulletins for the bop? I am also wondering how the college is able to differentiate between being sick because of alcohol or genuine illness?

A: The charge referred to here is the clean-up charge imposed on students who vomit somewhere in College other than in a toilet/sick bag as a direct result of alcohol consumption. The charge is £80, which is in line with Cambridge taxi companies’ clean-up fees. This charge is imposed because a Housekeeper, Porter or (at BOPs) HUS team member has to clean up bodily fluids, which is not a pleasant job for anybody, and so they are compensated for doing this unpleasant job which falls outside of their role description. A list of the Dean’s Standard Student Welfare Charges can be found in the Porters’ Lodge and on nexus. For reference, you can also see them here. With regard to differentiating between vomiting because of alcohol or genuine illness, this is assessed on a case-by-case basis. A student who vomits due to illness would not be charged a clean-up fee.

If your friend has vomited somewhere due to excessive alcohol consumption and you want to prevent them from being charged, we suggest you try to clean it up as quickly and hygienically as possible.

SERVICES

Q: Why are potatoes more expensive than other veg? In general, can hall prices be reduced? To spend £8 on a main, one veg and a dessert is so bad! Other colleges hall is so cheap (e.g. £3 for a main and a side)

A: Paul Coleman (Catering and Conferencing Manager) has said the following:

‘Potatoes cost more than vegetables, hence the difference in price. I’m not sure where the £8.00 has come from, as the average meal costs £6.19 for a main, side and dessert. With regards to Homerton hall being more expensive than at other colleges, this is not necessarily the case. Food might seem cheaper at other colleges, but this is partially because most of them have a KFC (Kitchen Fixed Charge), where students pay an upfront fee before they can use the catering facilities. This means that the food is cheaper when bought, but not necessarily cheaper when KFC is included. Homerton has asked the student body if it prefers KFC to the MMC system we operate (where you pay a smaller amount which can be used to actually buy food), and the student body opted to stick with the MMC system.’

 

Q: Can we please get some actually functioning dryers? They all either swallow all of the coins or don’t dry anything.

A: If the dryers swallow your coins, please go to the Porters’ Lodge and they can issue you a refund. Unfortunately the dryers can’t be replaced at this time, but the Cav laundrette is being rebuilt during D&E’s renovations. New dryers will be installed then, and the college are looking to introduce a system that does not involve coins.

 

Q: Can we get advanced notice when hall will shut early?

A: Dinner service in hall will end early, at 18:30, on nights when there is formal hall. Formal halls occur every Tuesday night during term time, and some Fridays and Wednesdays. The formal halls that do not fall on a Tuesday this year are: Wed 28th Nov, Friday 30th Nov, Fri 18th Jan, Wed 6th Feb, Fri 8th Feb, Thurs 14th Feb (Halfway Hall), Monday 18th Feb, Friday 1st March, Friday 12th April, Friday 10th May, Friday 31st May, Friday 14th June, Wednesday 19th June. These dates do not include subject formals.

 

Q: Is there anyway the black gate (near Harrison Drive) can have carded access, being locked after 8pm is super inconvenient?

A: The HUS brought this up with ex Head Porter Gordon Murray last year, as students made the last request. Gordon said that this would not be possible. However, if you would like to see this happen, please send an email to Liv at hus-internal@homerton.cam.ac.uk with the reasons you would like to see this change, and she will bring it up with Senior staff again.

 

Q: How does the camp bed system work? Do i need to ask far in advance and what is the cost?

A: To book a HUS camp bed, please come into the HUS Office during Office hours (Monday – Friday, 10am-2pm, 5pm-7pm). Please do not message a member of the HUS or the HUS JCR page to book a camp bed. We will then see if the beds are available, and if so we will book you in. Please bring the appropriate amount of cash with you (camp bed: £2 a night, £4 over the weekend, air bed: £1 a night, £2 over the weekend). You can then come and collect your bed during the evening office hours of the night(s) that you need it. You must return the bed in the office hours the day that you have finished using the bed. If you do not do so, you will be charged for the extra nights, and this will also mean that another student won’t have access to the bed that they have booked.

 

Q: Can we have times the new bar is open somewhere visible please?

A: Liv (Vice President Internal) emailed Rob Gamble and Paul Coleman asking for bar times to be displayed more clearly. The Griffin’s and buttery’s opening times are now displayed outside the JCR.

 

Q: Could you please make bicycle racks with roofs near the back gate (near ABC)? The closest one is currently next to plodge (which is relatively far in the mornings) and I really don’t fancy my bike getting drenched.

A: This a question for the Maintenance and Estates department, rather than the HUS, as we do not have control over the College budget. However, Miranda  (President) fought for covered bike racks to be introduced last year. College agreed to include this in the budget for upcoming building work, but we can’t be sure when this will be. It is likely that any new shelters over bike racks will be installed outside the Porters’ Lodge, rather than by ABC. Miranda (President) will mention this again next time she meets with the relevant College staff.

 

Q: Is it possible to get the LCR printer back in the LCR instead of the library?

A: We have spoken to IT and they have said they do intend to move the printer back to the Lower Computer Room, however they haven’t been able to get round to it yet.

SOCIETIES

 

Q: Is there an active Arts Society (focused on drawing, painting, craft work etc) at Homerton?

A: Homerton does not have an arts society, however the Welfare Team do run ‘Art and Chill’ sessions in the buttery intermittently. If you would be interested in starting a new society, please email the HUS Treasurer (hus-treasurer@homerton.cam.ac.uk) and they will help you to set it up!

 

HUS OFFICE

 

Q: When is the college stash arriving?

A: The stash that is sold in the HUS office will be restocked after the stock has depleted. This will depend on how quickly the it sells. If you have order stash from Xtream and are wondering when it will arrive, check the order dates it gives on the website (at time of writing it says order by October 21st receive by November 2nd).