Student patrols ensure peace with neighboursNovember 2, 2012 - 8:15am
BY DENISE MCNAMARA
Relations between GMIT students and residents have greatly improved following the success of nightly patrols by the college’s own ‘police force’, and a new campaign educating freshers about the consequences of antisocial behaviour.
A flyer has been handed out to residents of all estates known to be popular with students, giving them the contact number for the private patrol, which is funded by the college and organised by the Students’ Union.
On busy nights the Students’ Union deploys two cars across the estates to report on any unruly behaviour in houses occupied by students.
The officers are instructed not to approach the students or the house, their brief is to observe the behaviour and give a written account of it.
The patrols are on duty from 9.30pm to 3.30am, Sunday to Thursday, and cost the college €370 a week to maintain.
Any reports of parties or drunkenness is then collated by the Students’ Union, which refers single or recurring incidents to the college’s disciplinary committee, which has powers to suspend, fine or expel students who bring the institute into disrepute on or off the college campus.
At the recent induction day for new students, details of how the patrols work were outlined. Students were also introduced to the SSHH!! (Silent Students Happy Homes) Campaign, which aims to educate students on the need to show respect to neighbours by keeping the noise down.
“We basically make them aware of the importance of being quiet when coming home, to remember you are in a residents’ area and not everyone wants to be kept awake by a gang of students partying,” explained Sam O’Neill, Welfare Officer with the SU.
The radical decision to introduce private patrols was taken in September 2010 after a spate of antisocial incidents blighted the preceding academic year.
Penalties can involve community service, fines or as a very last resort suspension or expulsion.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.