Jock's Backroom Blog

Views from the Backroom, and the Classroom, at Oxford Brookes University

See amid the winter snow…

Posted by Jock Coats on January 6th, 2010

So the university has decided to be closed tomorrow, Thursday 7th January, except for “essential staff”.  This presents a nice little irony for those intent on evicting live-in warden staff from halls of residence.  Because of course, although it is not term time and we don’t have that many people about even in halls at the moment, what we do have are wardens, who, under the previous system of marketing the role primarily to university staff would, almost by definition, be stuck, tomorrow…in halls of residence.

Snow at Morrell Hall last night

Snow at Morrell Hall last night

What, one might ask, would have happened in halls if this snow had fallen on Friday night?  Would instant arrangements have been made to make lots of staff come in on an otherwise weekend day off to clear snow and so on?  No, wardens, coupled with security at night and on call back up where necessary would have had to have coped.

Indeed, today, just as soon as it was decided to close Gipsy Lane I made my way back to the hall and offered to take the warden bag and remain on site, on call, so that staff could be allowed to go home as staff on other sites had been allowed to do for their own safety.

But other problems will remain, indeed probably be exacerbated, by getting rid of wardens as proposed if this happens next year, even if this is repeated on a week night when the hall office and staff may have been around during the day.  For it is even less likely that concierge staff due to start at 10pm each night will be able to make it in (though to do justice to our current security staff, both of mine made their way in on time last night and even helped to clear snow during the night), and there will be no officially responsible person living on site to cope in such a situation, whereas wardens, well, assuming we’re not actually stuck somewhere else, we’d be stuck here, with nothing to do but help care for the security and welfare of our home community.

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