Appendix 7: Holding Meetings or Parties on College Premises

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Obtaining Permission

Permission must be obtained from the Deputy Principal of the Postmasters for any gathering of more than ten persons on College premises, which any graduate or undergraduate member of the College seeks to hold. College premises includes all rooms, corridors, and gardens, whether in the main College, Rose Lane, Holywell, Manor Place, Iffley Road, the Sports Pavilion, the Holywell Meadows, or wherever the College has management of a property. Special conditions applying to student gatherings of three or more persons on College premises will apply on specified occasions including the Time Ceremony, College Ball, and end-of-examination celebrations. These conditions will be notified to the JCR and MCR members of College by the Deputy Principal of the Postmasters before such an occasion.

The form for obtaining permission, making a booking, and arranging security and safety must be fully completed with accurate and detailed information two weeks in advance. The DPOP must be informed if any substantive changes to the plans for the meeting or party occur after permission has been granted. Only members of Merton College may make bookings for meetings or parties on College premises.

The booking of certain College rooms and other venues requires the consent of College Officers and consultation with staff members before the booking can be accepted by the Deputy Principal of the Postmasters. Documentation of this consent must be submitted with the form. (See below for details of venues and contacts.) The College reserves the right to impose a rental charge for the use of certain College rooms and other venues to Merton students and non-Merton Clubs and Associations.

Permission must be applied for from the Deputy Principal of the Postmasters in writing at least two weeks before the event is to be held.

The College may withhold permission for parties and other events during times proximate to public examinations. A ban on such events is enforced from the start of 4th Week Trinity term, in the interests of those taking examinations.

Organisers must arrange with the Head Porter for clear directions to be available at the Lodge to guests and participants. If necessary, one of the organisers must be present in the Lodge when guests or participants arrive. All guests must be signed in and accompanied. If the Head Porter, in consultation with the Deputy Principal of the Postmasters, deems it necessary, extra staff or security must be arranged by and at the cost of the organisers.

Freedom of Speech

The requirements of the Code of Practice on Meetings and Events must be complied with. Freedom of speech and academic freedom are central tenets of academic life. The legal duties of UK universities to protect free speech is enshrined in legislation, including the Education (No 2) Act 1986 and the Human Rights Act 1998, and academic freedom is protected by the Education Reform Act 1988. All members of the College, including academics, staff, students, and visitors, must have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism (‘Prevent duty’) under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. Only criminal speech is proscribed. Speakers and audiences must observe the relevant college policies on harassment and conduct civil academic discussions at all times. 

The Head Porter must be consulted about security arrangements, especially for functions that are open to outside guests, or where disturbance may reasonably be foreseen. In the case of meetings, organisers must consider difficulties that they may have with participants of opposing views and requirements for physical security. In the case of parties, organisers must consider the possibility of gatecrashers or drunkenness

Responsibilities of Organisers

Organisers are personally responsible for ensuring that a reasonable standard of behaviour is maintained, that noise is kept within reasonable bounds, that the number of guests is within safe and permitted limits, and that all the appropriate conditions are observed. The organiser must be present throughout the event.

All parties and meetings must observe music hours, be quiet after 11:00pm, and disperse before 11:45pm. Music at official JCR or MCR parties held in College may be played up to 11:30pm, and special extensions of music hours may be allowed for parties held at the Pavilion upon application to the Principal of the Postmasters.

Organisers must not leave before they have ensured that the venue has been left clean, tidy, and ready for use by others. The Porters and College Officers may check that the organisers have stayed until all work is done. All washing up must be done and all rubbish disposed of. College staff must not have any extra work as a result. All glasses and debris from a party in the room of a member of the College must be cleared before the next visit by the scout/cleaner. Cleaning materials and equipment are usually available from the scout/cleaner, and are provided in the JCR, MCR, Mure Room, and the Pavilion. A charge may be levied in the event that the venue is not fully cleaned.

Organisers of parties or meetings are advised of the importance of observing fire regulations. The maximum number of occupants of each room or venue must be strictly observed. Barbeques are not permitted. It is an offence to possess barbeque equipment in College premises, whether inside or adjacent to a student residence.

Notices advertising events of any kind must be posted on notice boards, not placed on walls or doors.

The current schedule of fines includes fines for: excessive noise/disturbance £30-£75 depending on severity; damage to College rooms, premises, grounds, £30 and up depending on severity + costs property; unauthorised parties £30–75 depending on severity; failure to clean up after party/meeting, cost plus fine of £30-£150; unreasonable mess, cost plus fine of £30-£150.

Any College (or University) group or society wishing to book a College room for a meeting must give notice to the Deputy Principal of the Postmasters using the online room booking request form. You must provide full details of the purpose of the meeting, the name of the group or society, and the names of all outside speakers invited to the meeting. Such notification must be given at least two weeks before the date of the meeting. If the Deputy Principal of the Postmasters has not given permission, the meeting will not be allowed..

Discos or parties to be held in College property may not be advertised outside the College nor may a charge be made for admission or drinks. Junior Members are reminded that a licence is normally required for the sale of alcoholic drinks to persons who are not members of the College or their bona fide guests.

Alcoholic refreshments may be sold at the College Bar only to members of the College and their bona fide guests. The Bar must close at 11:00pm.

Any disco or other electrical equipment to be used must have been inspected and approved by the College’s electrician. The use of smoke vapour machines is strictly forbidden except by special permission.

Junior Members are reminded that entertainment licences are required by law for a 'public performance'. This does not apply to private events confined to members of the University and their bona fide guests. For such a performance not to be public the restriction on the audience must be announced on any advertisement that the public might see, and all reasonable steps must be taken to exclude members of the public. Advertisements should be confined to 'private' areas of the University therefore. Even for private performances, organisers remain responsible for the safety of performers and the audience, and with respect to the Theatres Act 1968, for requirements regarding such matters as obscenity, incitement to racial hatred, etc. Junior Members are advised to consult the Proctors’ Memorandum, Part IV.

Particular attention is drawn to the matter of end-of-examination celebrations. In the interest of public safety and the reputation of the University, the Proctors require all candidates to return directly to the College after their examination is over, and to discourage their friends from gathering outside the Examination Schools to meet them. There are ample opportunities for candidates and their friends to celebrate in a civilised way within the College. The Proctors and the College authorities have a duty to ensure that the conduct of junior members does not disturb the outside community or those still sitting examinations.

Booking

All bookings for gatherings of more than ten people must be authorised by the Deputy Principal of the Postmasters. Booking certain College rooms and other venues requires the consent of other College officers and consultation with staff members before the Deputy Principal of the Postmasters will accept the booking. The form for obtaining permission, making a booking, and arranging security and safety must be submitted no later than 2 weeks prior to the event date, and must be fully completed with accurate and detailed information. Additional information is given below.

Venue Permission Additional information
JCR
  1. JCR President; and
  2. If the gathering is for more than 10 people, the DPOP
  3. Head Porter or Deputy Head Porter

If you have been given permission to hold a party in the JCR, you must write to all residents of St Alban's staircases and Front V in advance warning them of the event.

You may only play music at an authorised event in the JCR up to 11:30pm. You must turn down the music 15 minutes before this time.

In Trinity Term loud noise/music played in the JCR must cease by 9:00pm.

MCR/Holywell Music Room
  1. MCR President or MCR Social Secretary, as nominated by the MCR Executive Committee; and
  2. If the gathering is for more than 10 people, the DPOP
  3. Head Porter or Deputy Head Porter

Before submitting the request form to the DPOP you must obtain the signature of the MCR President or the MCR Social Secretary.

You may only play music at an authorised event in the MCR up to 11:30pm. You must turn down the music 15 minutes before this time.

Mure Room
  1. Domestic Bursar: and
  2. If the gathering is for more than 10 people, the DPOP
  3. Head Porter or Deputy Head Porter

A charge of £40 may be levied for the use of the Mure Room to non-Merton Clubs and Associations.

If you have been given permission to hold a party in the Mure Room, you must write to all residents of Rose Lawn staircases in advance warning them of the event.

You may not move the Grand Piano.

Food, drink, and smoking are prohibited in the Mure Room.

Fitzjames 1
  1. Domestic Bursar: and
  2. If the gathering is for more than 10 people, the DPOP
  3. Head Porter or Deputy Head Porter
 
TS Eliot Theatre
  1. Domestic Bursar: and
  2. If the gathering is for more than 10 people, the DPOP
  3. Head Porter or Deputy Head Porter

A charge of £100 may be levied for the use of the TS Eliot Theatre to non-Merton Clubs and Associations.

Applications to use the TS Eliot Theatre must be received at least two weeks in advance.

Wine and soft drinks may be served in the foyer area, however no glasses (or food) are to be taken into the TS Eliot Theatre or any of the breakouts.

Sports Pavilion
  1. Domestic Bursar;
  2. Groundsman;
  3. If the gathering is for more than 10 people; the DPOP; and
  4. Secretary of Amalgamated Clubs
  5. Head Porter or Deputy Head Porter

A charge will be levied to cover the cost of parties at the Pavilion. This charge is currently £100. (£150 for non-Mertonian clubs and associations).

Unless a special extension of music hours has been agreed with the Principal of the Postmasters, you may only play music at parties and authorised events held in the Pavilion up to 11:30pm. You must turn down the music 15 minutes before this time.

All musical equipment must use the designated power points attached to the acoustic control system.

You may not play or relay live or amplified music to the grounds outside the Pavilion at any time.

Lawns and gardens
  1. Domestic Bursar:
  2. Garden Master; and
  3. Principal of the Postmasters
  4. Deputy Principal of the Postmasters;
  5. Depending on circumstances, Senior Member of Merton Floats, Warden & Tutors’ Committee

Use of the lawns and gardens by junior members for parties is restricted.

You may apply to hold an event on a Merton College lawn or garden and the appropriate location (Chestnut Lawn, Sundial Lawn, Fellows Garden) will be assigned, taking preferences into account where possible.

You may apply to use a Merton College lawn on behalf of an official College body (e.g., JCR, MCR) or recognised College clubs or societies. Normally a Fellow of the College must agree to be present at the function.

Garden functions may not exceed four hours in duration (including set up and close down), expect by special permission from the Warden and Tutors' Committee through the Principal of the Postmasters.

No more than 100 people including the organisers may be invited to an event unless it is an official JCR or MCR event, except by special permission from Warden and Tutors' Committee through the Principal of the Postmasters.

No student, club or society may hold more than one event in the gardens per term.

A maximum of three parties per week will be allowed and one party per day.

All applications for garden parties must be approved by the Garden Master by Friday of 0th Week of Trinity term so that the list of Garden Parties can be approved by the Warden and Tutors' Committee.

You must obtain permission from the Warden and Tutors’ Committee before a music or drama rehearsals or any similar activity is held in the gardens.

The Senior Member of Merton Floats must request permission from the Warden & Tutors’ Committee before drama rehearsals or performances.

The Principal of the Postmasters must request permission from the Warden & Tutors’ Committee for any other events in the Gardens. A maximum of three parties per week will be allowed and one party per day

You may not play live or amplified music in the Gardens. Special requests to play non- amplified music may be made to the Domestic Bursar and will be considered under exceptional circumstances only.

College House
  1. DPOP
  2. Head Porter or Deputy Head Porter

Junior members who wish to hold a party or meeting in a College house or garden, which will total 10 or more persons present either serially or at a single time (unless all of the people to be present are resident in that house), must present the Deputy Principal of the Postmasters with written evidence attached to the form that all members of the house have been consulted and given their agreement to the event.

No more than 50 people (not including the residents of that house) may be invited to a party or meeting in a college house or garden associated with the house. Organisers must inform their immediate neighbours of the party or meeting in writing at least one week prior to the event taking place.

The common areas of the house or garden must be cleaned and cleared before the cleaner’s next visit or 10:00am the next morning, whichever is earlier.

Holywell Summerhouse MCR President or Social Secretary; and if the gathering is for more than 10 people, the DPOP No live or amplified music may be played outside the Holywell Summerhouse. Music may be played inside the Holywell Summerhouse only if the doors and windows are closed and remain closed whilst it is being played.
Savile Room
  1. DPOP
  2. Domestic Bursar
  3. Head Porter or Deputy Head Porter

Use of the Savile Room for club dinners and other functions is restricted, and permission may well be refused.

A Fellow of the College must agree to be present at the function.

Hall
  1. Warden
  2. The Domestic Bursar
  3. Steward
  4. Head Porter or Deputy Head Porter
You must apply to the Warden for permission to use the Hall, who may also ask for other College officers to be consulted. You should also consult the Catering Manager about availability and catering.
Student room
  1. DPOP
  2. Head Porter or Deputy Head Porter

No more than 12 students are permitted to attend a party in a student room at a time. Only one guest may be present in a student room after 12:00 midnight.

You may only play music, whether live or reproduced, in your room between 9:00am and 11:00pm. Music played within the permitted times must be kept to a tolerable level for your neighbours, or those teaching in neighbouring rooms, and must not be audible beyond your room.

You must clear all glasses and debris must be cleared before the scout’s/cleaner’s next visit.

Music Rooms
  1. DPOP
  2. Head Porter or Deputy Head Porter

The Music Rooms may be used for musical activities only.

Food, drink, and smoking are prohibited in the Music Rooms.

You may not play amplified music in the Music Rooms without the written permission of the Principal of the Postmasters.

Music played in music rooms located near residential rooms should only be played between 8:00am and 10:00pm.

Chapel and Antechapel The Chaplain Requests to use the Chapel and/or Antechapel should be arranged directly with the Chaplain.

Major events require additional consideration, as outlined below.

College Ball, Plays, Arts Festival

The date and major venues for the College Ball should be submitted to the Warden & Tutors’ Committee one year in advance.

A complete schedule of events must be submitted to the appropriate College Officers one term in advance.

You must ensure that any testing of the sound system before the Ball does not cause a disturbance during quiet hours.

You must write to any people who might be affected by the Ball. Students must disperse quietly.

Bops, discos, etc.

A termcard including the schedule of bops and other events should be submitted to the JCR and MCR respectively to the DPOP in Week 8 of the preceding term. Extensions of this deadline may be arranged directly with the DPOP. The DPOP shall consult with the POP before approval will be given.