Halls WhatsApp

Posted 10 months ago

Community guidelines and how to stay up to date

Every Intercollegiate Hall has a WhatsApp community that you can use to keep in touch with everyone and find out what's happening in halls.

Please remember that when you join a WhatsApp group or community, your mobile phone number is visible to other members of the same group. Please don’t use WhatsApp for seeking emergency help or for private communication with staff. (See “What you can expect from us” below).

Keep this space safe

Please help us ensure our WhatsApp virtual community remains a safe and welcoming space for everyone, of every age, race, religion, sexuality, nationality, disability, and gender identity. Maintaining safety is everyone's responsibility, not just the moderators.

What are the Halls WhatsApp Groups and Community for?

This is your space. You might want to use it to:

  • Get to know other residents in your hall
  • Find like-minded fellow residents who share your interests
  • Organise study sessions together
  • Organise group activities (e.g. theatre, cinema, concerts, etc)
  • Form clubs or societies that meet regularly (e.g. football, art club, chess, etc)
  • Ask questions about the hall
  • Highlight lost and found items, or ask to borrow something from another resident
  • Keep up to date on what's happening in the hall (events, maintenance)

What you can expect from us

  • All the groups that are managed by us will be reviewed at least once every 24 hours.
  • We will moderate the chat to keep it safe.
  • We will remove accounts from the chat if we become aware that they are not hall residents.
  • If you ask us a question through one of the WhatsApp groups, we will aim to reply within 24 hours; normally this will be between 6pm and 11pm. This means that WhatsApp is not a suitable forum for requesting urgent or emergency help. If you need help more urgently, please contact the reception desk for your hall.
  • University of London staff will not initiate, reply to, or participate in 1:1 private chats with students. This is in line with our conditions of employment. Staff will only post and respond to posts in the official group chats. Please use email if you wish to have private correspondence with a member of staff.

Group rules

  1. To join and remain a member of this WhatsApp community, you must be a current resident or staff member of the University of London Intercollegiate Halls.
  2. Be respectful.
  3. Never behave in a way that may violate the privacy or dignity of another person.
  4. Do not bully or harass others or organise, promote, or participate in bullying or harassment.
  5. Do not organise, promote, or participate in hate speech or hateful conduct.
  6. It’s unacceptable to attack a person or a community based on attributes such as their race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, age, disabilities, or other protected characteristics.
  7. Be honest about your identity and do not impersonate any other member of the University of London community.
  8. Do not share content that glorifies or promotes suicide, self-harm, or eating disorders. Self-harm threats used as a form of emotional manipulation or coercion are also prohibited.
  9. Don’t post anything that is illegal or unlawful, nor which breaches the University’s Ordinances, accommodation Licence Agreement, or Hall Handbook. (You can find the Licence Agreement and Hall Handbook at https://www.london.ac.uk/halls/useful-documents.)
  10. Do not make threats of violence or threaten to harm others.
  11. Do not use this community for the organisation, promotion, or support of violent extremism.
  12. Do not share sexually explicit content, and do not sexualise children in any way.
  13. Do not share media depicting gore, excessive violence, or animal harm.
  14. Don’t spam, and don't use this community for commercial purposes, except for selling your own personal items only in the “Marketplace” group.

Moderation

If a message or series of messages breaks any of the rules above, the offending message(s) will be removed. The account that posted the message(s) may be suspended or permanently blocked from the group. Serious breaches of these guidelines may result in disciplinary action against the member(s) responsible, and/or referral to the police in the case of potentially criminal behaviour.

The group is moderated by the duty Resident Advisor (RA), with support from the Hall Warden, but they cannot review every post 24 hours a day. The duty RA phone is in the group as an admin. The Warden and some RAs may also be in the group as admins, or they can choose to be regular group members.

An admin’s decision about whether a post breaches these guidelines is final and not open to appeal.

If you see something you are concerned about, please let a group admin know about it. Don't assume that an admin has already seen it.

If you become aware that someone in the chat is not a hall resident, please let the duty RA account know.

Keeping yourself safe

In the group conversation

If someone posts something in the group chat that you consider to be inappropriate or makes you feel uncomfortable, you can take the following steps:

  1. Consider telling the person that what they posted is not ok. You can say: "That's not ok. Please can you delete that?" However, it's usually best not to escalate the situation by engaging in a lengthy back-and-forth.
  2. Take a screenshot of the message(s) and the user profile of the person who posted them.
  3. Let the duty RA account know about your concerns.
  4. If the message contains content that is unlawful, you can consider reporting the message(s) to WhatsApp (Long-press on the message > More… > Report).
  5. Consider blocking the user who posted the message(s).
  6. You can get support and/or formally report the incident if you consider it to be abuse, bullying, or harassment. Read more in our procedure for Reporting and Investigating Harassment or Abuse: https://www.london.ac.uk/halls/useful-documents.

If someone sends you a private message that makes you feel unsafe

If someone sends you a private message that you consider to be inappropriate or makes you feel unsafe, you can take the following steps:

  1. Tell the person that their message is unwelcome. You can say: "This is inappropriate. Please don't message me."
  2. Take a screenshot of the message(s) and the user profile of the person who posted them.
  3. Let the duty RA account know about your concerns.
  4. If the message contains content that is unlawful, you can consider reporting the message(s) to WhatsApp (Long-press on the message > More… > Report).
  5. Consider blocking the user who posted the message(s).
  6. You can get support and/or formally report the incident if you consider it to be abuse, bullying, or harassment. Read more in our procedure for Reporting and Investigating Harassment or Abuse: https://www.london.ac.uk/halls/useful-documents.

The Whatsapp group is a great way to meet other residents, ask questions, and stay up-to-date. If you'd like to join please speak to your duty RA.