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Allan Webb Hall Sub Warden Handbook

Contributing Editors: John McNeill, Anne Warring, Desiree Wicks, Larissa Klazinga and Matthew Charlesworth with major contributions from Michael Oelschig and Anthea Ribbink which are very gratefully acknowledged.

Rhodes University has a tradition where each Hall of Residence is permitted to govern their own internal affairs autonomously according to their Hall Constitution. This allows each Hall to develop their own unique culture. As such, this booklet reflects the current practice in Allan Webb Hall. and does not necessarily apply to other Halls at Rhodes University. If you are reading this from another Hall and are in doubt whether any of these procedures apply in your own Hall, please consult your Hall or House Warden.

The Sub-Warden Handbook, is available here:

subwardenhandbook.pdf Sub Warden Handbook

Table of Contents

Sub-Wardens are members of staff and play a vital role in the running of the residence. In addition to being a liaison between the House and Hall Warden and students, Sub-Wardens are required to carry out such duties as assigned to them by the University and Wardens.

Sub-Wardens should aim to be: Friendly, Approachable, Available, Reliable, Conscientious, Trustworthy, Resourceful and should use their own initiative.

Sub-Wardens should have read and be fully conversant with, in addition to this booklet, the following documents:

Sub-Wardens must, themselves, at all times uphold the rules of the University and the Hall of Residence. Any breach of these rules by a Sub-Warden is regarded in a very serious light. Sub-Wardens are leaders, and leaders lead by example.

Sub-Warden Handbook

Absence of House Warden
In the event of your House Warden being away you must contact the Hall Warden immediately if there is any problem in your residence. If the Hall Warden is unavailable, please contact another Warden in the Hall.

Access to unoccupied rooms
Under no circumstances may students be given access to unoccupied rooms.

Accidents and Serious Illness
Your House Warden, or the Hall Warden in his/her absence, must be informed as a matter of urgency of any of the following:

  • accidents, injuries or serious illness of any student in your residence;
  • the death, or attempted suicide, of any student in your residence;
  • the admission of any student in your residence to either the sanatorium or to hospital. In the event of a student being admitted to hospital, the Warden must be informed immediately.

Although in the first instance the care of the fridge, washing machines, tumble driers, TVs, video recorders, etc., falls under the House Committee, it is your duty to ensure that they are kept clean, in good working order and that booking lists are changed regularly.

You may be confronted with the following infestations, in which case you are advised to follow the advice provided:

  • Bees
    If you find a swarm of bees or require bees to be removed, please contact Garth Cambray on (083) 319-0369, or the Secretary of the Zoology Department on (046) 603-8525.
  • Bedbugs
    If you become aware of a bedbug problem in a particular room notify Housekeeping, via the Allan Webb Housekeeper immediately and request that they fumigate the room. If this problem is not dealt with in a timely manner the bedbugs will spread.
  • Rats
    If you become aware of a rodent problem, requisition it marked “Attention: Building Maintenance” and ask the Allan Webb Housekeeper to follow-up with Building Maintenance immediately.
  • Snakes
    If you find a snake, do not kill it. Call one of the following and they will remove it:
    • Prof. Martin Villet: (046) 603-8527
    • Dr Sirion Robertson: (046) 603-8494
    • Mr Basil Mills: (083) 420-2633
    • Campus Protection: (046) 603-8146
    • Grounds & Gardens: (046) 603-8240

Any other duties
You may be required to undertake such duties as may be required by the Warden or Hall Warden.

Arrest, or the taking into custody, of students
Your House Warden, or the Hall Warden in his/her absence, must be informed as a matter of urgency of any of the following:

  • the arrest of any student in your residence by the South African Police Service;
  • the placing into custody of any student, or any student being detained by the South African Police Service, or the University’s Campus Protection Unit.

Bomb Threats / Suspicious Articles
If you, or a member of the residence receives a Bomb Threat – notify Campus Protection and your Warden immediately. Please see Annexure A for more information concerning the evacuation procedures.

Check, where applicable, Inter-visiting, requisition and message books daily. Remove any offensive messages and apprehend/deal with the culprit if possible.

Box Rooms
Box room keys should be handled only by the Warden or Sub-Wardens of the respective Residences. One of the above persons should be in attendance whenever the Box Rooms are opened to ensure that all items are signed in/out and that the box rooms are packed neatly and with consideration for other users.
Box room lists must be filled in by the student who wishes to place items in the Box Room and countersigned by the Sub-Warden or Warden in attendance.
No items should be placed into the Box Room unless they are sealed and labelled by the student. At the end of the first term, box rooms must be cleared of all possessions of students no longer in the residence and generally tidied. At the discretion of the House Committee, unclaimed items may be sold for residence funds or donated to charity.


  1. Assist Hall Secretary to upload DALLAS chip details for the residence. Check that no student other than a resident of the House registers his/her chip.
  2. Should electricity go off for an extended period and the batteries fail in the access control, ensure that there is someone who is available to open the door manually. Under no circumstances should the security of the residence be compromised by leaving the door unlocked.
  3. Report any malfunction of the chip system to the House Warden as soon as possible.

Closure of Hall
Sub-Wardens may not depart for vacations until the House Warden has been informed that all duties listed below have been carried out and gives Sub-Wardens permission for departure.

  1. All students have left the residence
  2. Keys have been hung on the key board in the office and the Warden informed, in writing, of any keys not handed in.
  3. A thorough check has been made of all student rooms, using the Residence Room and Linen Statements (please see Annexure M) and the Warden informed of anything noteworthy.
  4. All necessary maintenance requisitions have been written up in the Maintenance File
  5. The Housekeeper informed, in writing, of any items missing (e.g. pillows) from student rooms.
  6. The washing machines, tumble drier and refrigerator checked and, if necessary, cleaned.
  7. All notices removed from notice boards and either disposed of or filed in the office for the next term.
  8. The End of Year/Term Check-list (see Annexure C) has been completed.


  • ...with the Administration
    Please note that any communication regarding the Hall or its students with the Vice-Chancellor and any other member of Senior Management must, in the first instance, be channelled through your House and/or Hall Warden.
  • ...with the Hall Secretary
    Every Sub-Warden in the Hall is required to visit the Hall Secretary’s Office daily (during the week). It is up to you to arrange a time that is convenient with the Hall Secretary.
  • ...with your House Warden
    You are expected to inform your House Warden of any of the following…
    • General issues: Keep in constant communication with your House Warden, keeping him/her up to date with all that is happening in the residence.
    • Achievements: Should you be aware of any notable achievements by students or teams in your house e.g. special academic awards, prizes and bursaries, selection for provincial or national sports teams, and so on, please inform your House Warden.
    • Personal issues: Should you be aware of any issues affecting students stemming from their family situation or their friends, you should please inform your House Warden.
    • Psychological issues: Should you be aware of any issues affecting students, that would, or already have required, students to seek psychological counselling or to be admitted to a mental health institution during their stay in residence, you are asked to inform your House Warden.
      Communication and cooperation with the other Sub-Warden/s is of vital importance to the smooth running of the House.
      You are required to meet with your House Warden formally and/or informally every day if possible, but at least four times a week.
  • ...with students in your House
    You should have a general knowledge of each student in order to support their social and academic life. You should attempt to make regular and meaningful contact with every student in your house.

Completion of Forms
Sub-Wardens are required to ensure that all the students in the House complete and return the forms listed below. The forms must be CHECKED before being handed to the House Warden by the end of the first week of term. If necessary, fines must be issued should students fail to cooperate in returning their forms.

  1. Residence Room and Linen Statements (please see Annexure M), if the room was vacated
  2. Student Medical Information form (every semester) (please see Annexure S)
  3. Student Information form (every semester) (please see Annexure R)
  4. Motor Vehicle Form (every year, or when necessary)
  5. Declaration of Electrical Appliances (every year, or when necessary)


  • Matters discussed with the Warden and/or Sub-Warden must be treated with strict confidentiality at all times.
  • Students' exam results are confidential and must not be discussed.
  • Should a Sub-Warden have a problem with his/her Warden or the other Sub-Warden, the matter may only be discussed with the Warden/Sub-Warden themselves or the Hall Warden if necessary. Under no circumstances may any discussion with other members of the House occur.

For more information please see Annexure B for details of Community Service sentences; Annexure D for examples of the associated paper-work; or Annexure U for a summary of the step-by-step procedures to follow when conducting a Disciplinary Hearing.

  1. Whilst Sub-Wardens are authorised to proceed with a disciplinary hearing, they are advised to contact their House Warden beforehand.
  2. Sub-Wardens are expected to maintain discipline in the residence and to take disciplinary action where necessary. There is no rule that a warning has to be given before a student is fined, punished, etc. Each case must depend on its merits.
  3. Sub-Wardens are authorised to impose a fine of up to 2.5% of the BA fee for any one single count and/or to impose community service not exceeding 25 hours.
  4. Should a Sub-Warden decide to take disciplinary action against a student, there are correct procedures to be followed, and you should consult with your House Warden for the full detailed procedures.
  5. Please note that drunkenness is an aggravating factor, NOT a mitigating factor, and any students who are under the influence of alcohol may be in breach of the Student Disciplinary Code.
  6. The following breaches of discipline must be referred to the House Warden:
    • Any breach of any rule by a member of your House Committee;
    • All breaches of the inter-visiting rules;
    • Any disciplinary offence where property (private or university) is damaged;
    • Any offence involving the unlawful possession or supply of drugs;
    • Any assaults/rapes/murders etc;
    • Any thefts;
    • Any racial incidents;
    • Any form of harassment;
    • Any form of initiation;
  7. It is necessary to bear in mind that penalties which are too severe can be reduced by the Hall Warden or a Proctor on review. Equally, penalties which are too lenient can be increased by either the Hall Warden or a Proctor. If you are in doubt please discuss the matter with your House Warden. It is suggested that you read the chapter headed “Student Disciplinary Code” in the Rhodes Calendar.
  8. Rules or policy of the Hall may not be varied by either a House Warden or a Sub-Warden, and you are required to comply with all rules and regulations.
  9. Sub-Wardens have the right to enter a student’s room in the course of their duties but it is strongly recommended that you take someone else with you, and before entering, knock three times and give the student a chance to answer you.

Ensure that the front door is secure at all times. Other doors should also be secured, unless otherwise stated.

A notice indicating your whereabouts in the residence must be posted on your door so that students who need you will be able to find you.

  1. Evening
    • Women's Residences
      A person in authority must be present in the residence every night from 19:30 (7:30pm) onwards. This duty is shared by the Sub-Wardens. The Sub-Wardens will draw up a schedule indicating duties. On the days that you are on duty you are required to REMAIN IN YOUR RESIDENCE. Under no circumstances should you leave your residence, unless it is in an emergency, on the night that you are on duty. If you have to leave, ask someone else in authority, e.g. your fellow Sub-Warden, the House Warden or failing them, the Senior Student to cover for you; put a note on your door indicating your whereabouts and inform your Warden (leave a note if she is out). It is also suggested that you put a notice on your door indicating who is on duty on a particular night so that students will then know where to go if they need somebody.
      Being "on-duty" entails remaining in the precincts of the residence, posting a notice of your whereabouts at all times on the room door and being available for those needing the master key, handing out globes and attending to any other instance that might arise. Should a Warden/Sub-Warden need to leave the precincts of the residence during his/her week-end on duty, she/he must liaise with the "back-up Warden" to cover for him/her during their absence.
    • Men's Residences
      Every attempt should be made to ensure that at least one of the Sub-Wardens or the Warden is present in the residence every evening. Before a Sub-Warden leaves the residence in the evening, he should check to see if his fellow Sub-Warden is going to remain in residence, failing this he should contact the House Warden.
  2. Weekend
    Every attempt should be made to ensure that at least one of the Sub-Wardens or the Warden is present in, or around, the residence over the weekend. Before a Sub-Warden leaves the residence over the weekend, he/she should check to see if their fellow Sub-Warden is going to remain in residence, failing this they should contact the House Warden.
  3. Dining Hall
    Whilst all Sub-Wardens are on duty whenever they are in the Dining Hall, there should always be one Sub-Warden who is specifically ‘on duty’ in the Dining Hall for every meal (breakfast, lunch and supper), as per the roster. This is necessary to ensure that the conduct of students remains at the high standards to which the Hall is accustomed. If you are unable to make your duty then you must find a substitute from among one of the other Sub-Wardens. You should ensure that all the rules of the dining hall are maintained, specifically rule AW1.17, concerning the conduct, dress, times, procedure, booking of meals, removal of food from the dining hall, packed meals, wastage of food, taking of seconds, and the presence of guests is concerned.
    The Sub-Warden on duty should ensure that he/she is present for the end of the meals, to ensure that students leave the Dining Hall in good time, and so as to ensure, at supper time, that the privilege of seconds, is not abused.

Please see Annexure O.

  1. Know where and how to turn electricity back on, should it trip.
  2. Should electricity go off for an extended period and the batteries fail in the access control, ensure that there is someone who is available to open the door manually. Under no circumstances should the security of the residence be compromised by leaving the door unlocked.

Emergency Numbers
Know emergency numbers, e.g. Campus Protection, Ambulance, Sanatorium, etc. Ensure that a list of updated emergency numbers is clearly displayed in phone booths.

Emergency Requisitions
Emergency requests for technicians (i.e. burst water pipes etc.) must be channelled via Campus Protection Unit if they occur after hours.

Fire-fighting equipment
Check fire extinguishers are full and serviceable (pins are still sealed) and fire hoses are serviceable (by unreeling it and running the hose for a couple of minutes out of a window).

Your House Warden will brief you in relation to fire drills. It is your duty to ensure that the drills are correctly carried out. Know how to activate and de-activate the fire alarm. Ensure that the students of the house know the evacuation procedure and check conditions of equipment and fire key boxes regularly. STRICT confidentiality of dates and times of fire drills must be maintained. Know how, and where, to switch the alarm off if it is activated accidentally.
Please see Annexure E for details of the various fire and safety procedures; Annexure F for an example of the report which needs to be completed after each drill; Annexure G for a checklist which needs to be submitted once a term; and Annexure I for guidelines on preparing and conducting a fire drill.

First Aid
Knowing what to do in an emergency gives one confidence and can prevent great harm to an injured person. Please see Annexure H for more information.

It is the duty of Sub-Wardens to be present at all residence and Hall functions (e.g. Hall Ball) and ensure acceptable dress and behaviour is maintained and conforms to the policy of the Hall and the University. Please see Annexure N for more information.

Be aware of any unauthorised guests immediately reporting them to the Warden. These would include persons who are ‘squatting’ in the residence, or, in women’s residences, guests who have not signed in.
Students may have guests of their same gender stay in the residence for up to three nights, but they must have completed the necessary application forms prior to the guest arriving.

Hall Committee Meetings
As a member of the Hall Committee you are expected to attend all Hall Committee meetings. These will be held approximately once a term. An agenda and a notice of meeting will be sent to you for each meeting. In the event of your requiring a leave of absence (e.g. for academic tests) apologies should be tendered to the Hall Secretary and your Warden.

House Committee Meetings
Your Warden is ex-officio Chairperson of the House Committee. You are expected to attend ALL meetings of the committee.
Keep in close contact with House Committee members and ensure that all members are doing their required "job" - if not, find out why, and do something about it.

House Funds
Each House is allocated a specific amount at the beginning of each year to cater for functions and so on. The House Committee is responsible for the allocation and spending of this money.

Please note that the Housekeepers are responsible to the General Manager of Housekeeping. If you have any difficulties with the housekeeping or the cleaning staff, please pass this on to your House Warden for onward transmission to the Hall Warden. Under no circumstances should you issue instructions to the Housekeeper and cleaning staff.

Sub-Wardens must use their initiative at all times - do not wait to be asked.

Leave of Absence
Sub-Wardens may be granted leave to be absent from the residence, only if convenient to the House Warden, and only by prior arrangement. Under no circumstances should you leave Grahamstown without leave of absence having been formally approved. Please see Annexure K for a sample of the Sub-Warden Leave Request Form, available from the Hall Secretary.

  • Absence from Residence overnight
    In order to apply for leave overnight, the form "Sub-Warden Application for Leave of Absence" must be completed and submitted to your House Warden for approval.
  • Absence from Residence during the day
    Sub-Wardens wishing to be absent from Grahamstown for the day are required to inform their House Warden of their absence in advance.

You are expected to hand out light bulbs (60 watt for study lamps) to students in the residence. In the case of fluorescent lights (both ‘tube’ and ‘D2’ types) failing, you should requisition to repair them. In Men’s residences, Sub-Wardens are expected to replace standard incandescent light bulbs in public areas, unless they are in areas that are difficult to access, such as stair-wells.
Check regularly and report any malfunctioning Security Lights in the precincts of the Residence.

Loyalty is an admirable quality. It is important for the proper functioning of the residence that you are loyal to the members of your Wardening Team. If you have a disagreement with a Warden, this must be discussed in private with him/her, never in public. Never breach the confidentiality of Warden/Sub-Warden discussions.

Be conscious on a daily basis of the maintenance of the residence (e.g. lights in the passages, bathrooms, laundry, common rooms and telephone booths) and ensure that maintenance problems are written in the requisition file by completing the Job Request Form (see Annexure J). Follow up with the Housekeeper when necessary. Bring any maintenance outstanding for more than one week to the Warden’s attention.

Master Keys
Ensure that the master key is kept in a safe place at all times. Do not keep it on your general bunch of keys. NEVER TAKE IT OUT OF THE RESIDENCE. In your room, keep it in a place where it is not easily accessible to other students when they visit your room.
The loss of a master key is a serious matter, because all the locks in the residence will then need to be replaced. The cost of this will have to be borne by the person who lost the key.
Under no circumstances may master keys leave your possession.
If a student requires the master key to get into his/her room you must accompany them and open the door yourself.
Under no circumstances may you open a student room for anyone other than the occupant unless you have been authorised to do so.
At the end of each term personally hand your Master key to the House Warden for safe keeping.


  1. You are expected to attend at least two meals each day in the dining hall.
  2. You must attend Formal Dinners, e.g. the Welcome Dinner, Leavers' Dinner, etc.
  3. You are responsible for discipline within the Dining Hall. Ensure that the Dining Hall rules are adhered to at all times by all students present in the Dining Hall. In that respect you are never "off duty"
    • Try to sit at a table with students with whom you are not familiar for at least one meal a day
    • It is important to note that food may not be taken out of the Dining Hall, except as indicated in the Hall Rule book.

Sub-Wardens should attempt to resolve all conflict within the residence. You should manage the multi-cultural dynamics of the residence, striving to ensure that all student’s needs are met.

Motor Vehicles
Ensure that students acquiring a motor vehicle/cycle during the year register it with the Student Bureau. Students are also expected to complete the relevant form and hand it into the Warden.
Sub-Wardens are expected to deal with students who park in unauthorised or illegal areas.

Notice Boards
Check notice boards daily. Remove any notices that are out of date or offensive. Ensure all notice boards are kept neat, tidy and well anchored by drawing pins in each corner of the page.

Opening of the House
Please refer to Annexure Q.

  • New Academic Year
    • Admittance of students: Only those students whose names appear on the computer printout provided by the Administration may be admitted to the residence unless written authority is provided from the Registrar's Division. This rule also applies to returning students.
    • Welcome: Sub-Wardens, neatly and appropriately dressed, must be on duty in the residence throughout the Orientation Week period to meet and welcome all new students and parents or guardians.
  • Beginning of subsequent terms
    Sub-Wardens must liaise with their House Wardens to ascertain when they are required to return to residence at the beginning of each term. Sub-Wardens must ensure that they return to residence by no later than 14h00 on the day before the students are permitted to return to the residence (normally a Saturday) and be on duty for the day to welcome returning students, hand out keys, and Residence Room and Linen Statements (please see Annexure M), if necessary.

Sub-Wardens must liaise with their House Warden to find out when they should return to residence. Sub-Wardens will be required to return earlier than other members of the House Committee.

Sub-Wardens should themselves participate, and encourage participation from every member of the house, in all the activities of the house (especially sport and community activities). Where students do not wish to participate, you should sensitively investigate their reasons for not participating and offer help and personal encouragement where necessary.

Only the Sub-Wardens, or in exceptional circumstances the Senior Student with the approval of the House Warden, may collect the post. Post must be collected each day from the Hall Secretary’s Office and placed in the House pigeon-holes in the foyer of the Dining Hall for collection by the students. Notifications of insured parcels, registered letters, priority mail, etc are handed by the Hall Secretary to the Sub-Warden of the residence, and that Sub-Warden must personally give this notice to the student concerned.
Promptly readdress post as necessary.

Quality of Residence Life Survey
During the year we conduct two performance appraisals using our Quality of Residence Life Survey which every member of the House is asked to complete. You can ask your Warden for more information about this survey and we welcome feedback. The results of this survey that are specific to your performance will be given directly and only to you as soon as they have been captured and analysed. If you would like to show them to your House Warden you are encouraged, but are under no obligation required, to do so. The specific questions relating to your performance that are asked are contained in Annexure L.

Keep all student record files and the Residence Administration System (RAS) up to date.

Room Changes
Keep the Warden and the Housekeeper informed of any room changes during the year. It is your responsibility to keep all Residence Room and Linen Statements (please see Annexure M) updated and filed for reference.

Ensure that the rules of the Hall and the University are enforced at all times.

Safety Guidelines
Please see Annexure P for more information.

Student well-being
Sub-Wardens should be aware of the various support services available to students, in order to refer them. This would include support for the following:

  • Academic
  • Harassment
  • Physical Health
  • Psychological

Suicide or attempted suicide
In the event of a student committing suicide or attempting to commit suicide, you must contact the House Warden, or if unavailable, the Hall Warden immediately. If the Hall Warden is unavailable, please contact another Warden in the Hall. If all else fails – please make contact with the Psychologist at the Counselling & Career Centre. Please familiarise yourself with the warning signs listed in Annexure T.

Supporting Survivors
Annexure V offers advice on supporting survivors of Rape.

Vacation Lists
The following lists must be prepared and put up in good time:

  • last exam, departure date and last meal (terms 2 and 4)
  • departure date and last meal (terms 1 and 3)
  • vacation addresses for Mail Room (terms 2 & 4)

Know where the water mains tap is and check that it works.

Last Modified: Wed, 03 May 2017 15:48:18 SAST