23/09/2005

University student president calls for 'neighbourly' respect

University of Ulster student president Colleen Dowdall has called on fellow undergraduates to help build strong relationships with the communities in which they live.

As students returned to university for the new term, Ms Dowdall said she was keen for UU students to actively participate in promoting good community relations across all the University’s four campuses.

Calling on students to take part in the Students’ Union community and public engagement programmes through the academic year, she said: “Anti-social behaviour on the part of students hit the headlines last year, particularly in South Belfast and the Holyland area. Student anti-social behaviour gives all students a bad name and will not be tolerated by either the University or the Students’ Union."

Backing up her new call, the student president issued a five-point plan which she hoped will improve relationships between students and their host communities:
  • Introduce yourself. This will give your neighbours the chance to meet you and see you are respectable young people, rather than presuming you are loud, rowdy students.
  • Keep it down. Its fine to play your music or practice your singing, if that's what you do, but be reasonable. DO NOT play loud music at 3am.
  • Keep the noise down on your way home from a night out. Your voice becomes three pitches higher and everything is so funny, but remember there are people in bed.
  • Respect your neighbours and their homes - the way you would want them to respect yours.
  • Think before you ask half the student population back to your house or use your street as a dumping ground. You would not do this at home!
In April, 18 people were arrested for “disorderly behaviour” following a night of disturbances in the Holyland area of south Belfast.

Despite calls by Northern Ireland's two universities for students to behave themselves in the run up to St Patrick’s Day, people lined the streets drinking and partying into the early hours in what one local resident described as like scenes from a “circus”.

Earlier in the same week, Queen's University said five students had been fined for bad behaviour.

(MB/SP)

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