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Noise and Your Neighbours

NOISE & YOUR NEIGHBOURS

The Oppidan office regularly receives phone calls from irate Grahamstown residents concerning their noisy student neighbours. It is important to note that neither the Oppidan sub-wardens nor the Oppidan Hall Warden are "noise police". Their role is primarily to support, give advice and guidance to students who are experiencing personal crises, and only occasionally to mediate and to resolve disputes between students and their neighbours. They have absolutely no power to stop parties or demand that students stop making a noise – the South African Police perform this function.

In order to avoid conflict with your student neighbours, we suggest the following course of action:
1. At the start of the year, go over and introduce yourself. Swop telephone numbers, get to each other on a personal level, and agree on reasonable limits in terms of noise
2. If the noise becomes intolerable (i.e. it’s after 11, a weeknight etc.), phone them or go across and asked them to stop
3. if they don’t oblige you , go and see them the next day, explain the problem clearly, and indicate that next time you will phone the police: Rhodes students who violate the law and are generally disrespectful should not be afforded any special treatment
4. if they do it again, call the police immediately.
5. If the problem persists, call the Oppidan Office, and we will arrange to send a sub-warden to try and mediate. Such mediation only takes place during working hours: our oppidan sub wardens are students first and foremost, and cannot be expected to break up parties at all hours of the morning or night.
6. If the problem becomes extreme, rule 20.4.1.3.15 of the Student Disciplinary Code ia applicable.

Please keep in mind that number 6 is fraught with problems. To start with there is no such thing as collective responsibility, so unless it can be proven without doubt which student or students actually caused the disturbance (and witnesses are prepared to make statements to this effect) the charge will not stick.

Noise is a neighbour relations issue, not a disciplinary issue: jointly, the neighbours need to negotiate reasonable limits, and agree to be both considerate (on the part of students) and tolerant (on the part of neighbours). Sub-wardens can help you here.

And try the following suggestions to promote good neighbourliness:
• Keep doors and windows closed to ensure the noise is contained.
• Be aware that if your music can be heard when you are outside your house, your neighbours can hear it too.
• Inform your neighbours of your intention to have a party at least two days in advance and give them a definite noise cut-off time.
• Do not have loud conversations outside your house, especially in the early hours of the morning.
• Watch your language as there may be children living close by.