The College seeks to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the security and safety of all Fellows, Staff, Students, Visitors and Contractors, whilst within, or situated on, College premises. The Porters are responsible for the effective operation and enforcement of the College’s Safety and Security Plan and its procedures. Responsibility for security and personal safety rests with all persons who study, work, reside in, or visit the College. All members of the College community, Visitors, Guests and Contractors should assist the Porters in order to ensure the success of this policy.

It is vital that you familiarise yourself with the following information.

Your Room and Your things

4.5.1 Access to the College

When they come into residence, every student living in College accommodation will be issued by the Porters with a key to their room (also known as a ‘Late Key’). A deposit of £40 (refundable when you graduate) is charged for this key. This key will also give access to various gates and common areas around the College, such as the main front gate, the pedestrian gates to Ann’s Court and the Ramsay Murray Gate, Cripps Court, the Library, and the JCR. It is important both for students’ own security and that of the College to take particular care of this key. Please take all precautions to avoid the loss or theft of keys. If you misplace your room key, you can sign out a spare from the Porters’ Lodge. If you lose your key or fail to return the spare within a week, a non-refundable charge of £40 will be added to your College bill. The same additional charge will be made if the College has needed to cut a replacement. Students must return keys to the Porters’ Lodge before they go down each term.

4.5.2 Loss of Personal Possessions

Students have responsibility for their own possessions; personal belongings are not covered by any College insurance. Students should explore the possibility of adding their possessions to their parents’ household insurance, but if this is not possible, the College strongly advises students to take out their own insurance cover. The College does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage, including accidental damage by College staff.

The College has limited storage space which is reserved for students living abroad. International students who wish to store their possessions should apply to the Head Porter at least three weeks before they are due to leave. Please note that all stored items are left entirely at the owner’s risk. The College will accept no responsibility or liability for any damage to any item, no matter how such damage is incurred. All items must be clearly named and dated. Items contained in plastic bags will not be accepted. No other storage is available and students are asked to be mindful of the quantity of possessions they bring to College.

4.5.3 Access to Student Rooms

While students are in residence, their room is their home. Everybody – Staff, Fellows, and other Students – should respect this right to privacy. From time to time however, it may be necessary for a College Officer or member of staff to gain access to student rooms as a matter of urgency, whether or not they are present. For example, there might be a potential danger to people or to the fabric of the building, or people from outside the College, such as window cleaners or electrical contractors, may need to carry out approved work; or a College Officer or staff member may need access in order to perform their duties.

Whenever practicable and reasonable, an attempt will be made to arrange a mutually convenient time (usually giving three days’ notice), but if the matter is urgent, access must be granted without undue delay. Most staff wear identifying badges, and visiting contractors are issued with identification badges. Porters who access students’ rooms un-announced will leave a form to advise the student that a member of staff entered their room and the reason why access was necessary.

4.5.4 Security of Buildings and Rooms

The main College gate and the metal gates are closed at around 7.30 pm. After this time access to the College is via the Porters’ Lodge. The smaller wicket gate remains open until 2.00 am in term and 12.00 midnight out of term. The gates are re-opened at 6.00 am. Cripps Court is locked at 7.30 pm in Full Term and at all times outside Full Term. The Ramsay Murray Gates (vehicle access) and Library Gates are also locked at 7.30 pm. Access to the College courts can be obtained by use of a room key, or the ‘Late Key’ for those living out of College. Students who return to College without a Late Key can obtain entry by ringing the bell at the Porters’ Lodge; as this may involve waiting for the Porter to return from patrol, students should endeavour to remember their keys. After gate closure, members of the College are expected to accompany departing guests to the main gate.

Porters lock the Library at approximately 2.00 am during Term and at midnight outside of Term. It is very important that all security gates and other doors accessed via a late key remain closed at all times, and that security combinations to rooms or buildings are not given to strangers or, indeed, any non-resident of the College.

4.5.5 Personal Information

As part of the College’s security policy, it has been agreed that the Porters should not disclose students’ room numbers to visitors. Students’ private telephone numbers will also be withheld. If the Porters are in possession of a student’s private number, they are authorised to use it in order to inform the student that a visitor is asking for him or her at the Porters’ Lodge.

4.5.6 Personal Safety

For the most part, the College is a relatively safe environment. However, thefts and other intrusions do occasionally occur, and it is important that the following sensible precautions are taken:

  • Never leave your room unlocked, even when you are in a nearby room, toilet or shower.
  • Safeguard your keys.
  • Avoid leaving valuable items on view, especially in ground floor rooms.
  • Never let people into your room unless you know them.
  • If you live on the ground floor, never leave your room without locking the windows.
  • Always ensure that the outer door of hostels is kept locked; the same applies to staircases which have lockable outer doors.

The Porters make annual presentations on security, personal safety and fire safety awareness to new students as part of the Freshers’ Week programme, which all undergraduate Freshers are required to attend.

4.5.7 Firearms

Firearms (including airguns, starting pistols or imitations), ammunition, knives, explosives, fireworks or inflammable substances such as petrol and chemicals may not, under any circumstances, be stored in rooms or brought onto College premises.

4.5.8 Security Plan and Response

The College has plans in place as to how to respond to major emergencies. In this unlikely event, the Porters and other staff will provide instructions. Please follow them immediately.

4.5.9 General Security

This is a general responsibility for all members of the College. Access to many areas is controlled by the Porters. This is backed by vigilant staff and CCTV monitoring. Doors to staircases and hostels must be kept closed, and, where possible, locked; there should not be any opportunity for uninvited persons to enter these areas. Students are responsible for their own rooms. Unknown persons should be questioned as to their presence inside buildings. Any student who is concerned about any aspect of security, should, in the first instance, draw it to the attention of the Porters. All crimes and suspicious persons or incidents should be reported immediately to the Porters.

4.5.10 Fire Safety

Fire is probably the biggest single danger in multiple-occupancy buildings. In recent years, unsupervised or dangerous electrical equipment, whether in gyp rooms or the rooms of individual students, has caused a number of fires that could easily have led to loss of life, and irresponsible behaviour involving the fire detection and alarm systems has led to students being fined. All members of College must realise the ease with which electrical equipment can catch fire under certain conditions, and must be vigilant in ensuring that their personal electrical items are safe and kept under surveillance when in use. Failure to observe the College’s fire regulations and procedures can have potentially catastrophic consequences. On a personal level, this means that all students should be aware of potential dangers of fire and follow these basic guidelines:

  • Familiarise yourself with escape routes and assembly points.
  • Don’t leave washing to dry in fire escapes, or leave or store your personal belongings in corridors or on stairwells.
  • The use of fairy lights, candles, joss sticks or other naked flames is expressly forbidden. Fire doors, (especially doors to gyp rooms), should never be wedged open or obstructed.
  • Gyp room doors should be closed before cooking is commenced.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Cooking in your room (including the use of sandwich makers, toasters or similar) is not permitted.
  • Always keep flammable materials (clothes, books, papers etc.) away from heat sources such as kettles, hair tongs/straighteners, radiators, light bulbs, and any supplementary heating provided to students (e.g. portable radiators). Use the heat-proof stand provided in your room when using electrical appliances.
  • Do not hang your own curtains, or put wall hangings, personal furniture, or alternative lampshades in your room. They are a potential fire hazard. Those provided by the College are fire retardant and meet current fire regulations.

4.5.11 Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are fitted in communal areas to assist staff to deal with small fires. The College views with concern any interference with fire safety equipment, which is provided and maintained for the safety of all members of the College. This includes letting off, or tampering with, fire extinguishers (except in the event of a fire), the jamming open of fire doors, the improper use or removal of keys to emergency exits, and interference with, or improper use of, fire escapes and fire exits. Tampering with fire safety equipment is now also a criminal offence.

Given the potentially serious, and possibly fatal, consequences of the wilful misuse of fire equipment, severe penalties will be imposed on those found responsible for such misuse or damage, or for encouraging others in such misuse or damage. These may include the withdrawal of the privilege of living in College, or College-owned accommodation. In addition, payment in full will be demanded for all damage caused. Under no circumstances will a plea that alcohol or other substance misuse, reduce an individual’s judgement be entertained as a mitigating factor. Severe penalties will also be imposed on those who infringe the regulations regarding the use of candles in College accommodation, or who, by other acts or through articles stored in their room, increase the risk of accidental fire.

4.5.12 Fire Detection and Alarm

All areas in College are equipped with automated fire detection and alarm equipment, which is a hard-wired system, linked to the Porters’ Lodge. Students should be aware of the sensitivity of the fire detection system. Leaning up against call points, unattended cooking, burnt toast, steam from showers and spraying deodorant directly underneath a detector are just some of the actions that can trigger a ‘false’ alarm. Each alarm which sounds MUST be treated by all as a potential fire, and students are required to evacuate the staircase or hostel. Unfortunately each year Porters respond to a significant number of unwanted alarms caused by careless actions, and the College is working with students to try to reduce the number of these incidences.

4.5.13 Fire Escapes

Each staircase has its means of escape clearly marked. It is important that escape routes, especially the open staircases of Old Court, which, in the event of a fire, can act as a chimney and speed the spread of smoke, are kept clear of flammable material, such as paper, cardboard boxes, clothing, etc. Escape routes must also be kept clear of personal property, furniture and other items. Regular inspections will be made of these areas, and disciplinary action will be taken if escape routes are blocked.

It is essential that all members of College understand the actions that need to be taken in the event of a fire alarm. Fire instructions are provided behind the door in each student room. Everyone has a responsibility for knowing their escape routes, fire exits and fire assembly point. Information about these is posted on notices around the College and is also given below:



OLD COURT: OLD COURT LAWN Staircases A, B, C, D, E, F, G; Bar; Catering Department; Chapel; College Nurse; Hall; Housekeeping; Master’s Lodge; Porters’ Lodge.


CRIPPS COURT: CRIPPS COURT LAWN Staircases H, I, J, K, L, M, N; Computer Room; MCR.


ANN’S COURT: ANN’S COURT LAWN Staircases O, P, Q, R; College Offices; Computer Room; JCR; TV Room; Library.




Grange Road and West Road Hostels



Fire doors in the College (including doors to all student rooms) are designed to withstand smoke and fire for at least 30 minutes. If your escape route is cut off, you should remain behind a fire door until rescued.

4.5.14 Fire Alarm Tests

Weekly fire alarm tests are carried out in all College buildings and test times are posted on notice boards around the College. Fire alarm tests are not completed during the College’s two Quiet Periods.

4.5.15 Fire Drills

The Head Porter is responsible for arranging fire drills for each staircase and hostel, and a log is kept of all drills. Generally, drills will take place once during the Michaelmas and Lent Terms, although re-testing may take place if responses have been slow or incorrect (e.g. going to the wrong assembly point). ALWAYS respond promptly to fire alarms, even if you suspect it may be a false alarm, or ‘merely’ a fire drill. Students have a legal duty to co-operate with College staff during fire drills.

4.5.16 Cooking

Selwyn is not a self-catering College and the facilities on each staircase are intended for the preparation of light snacks only. Each gyp room (or mini kitchen) has a sink, microwave oven, kettle, toaster, hob and fridge. Hobs and electrical sockets in gyp rooms are in the process of being fitted with 15-minute timers as a fire prevention measure. For safety reasons, no food cooking or heating appliances other than kettles may be used in your room, and deep-frying in not permitted in gyps. Small appliances such as toasters, sandwich toasters, indoor grills and similar appliances may be used in gyp rooms at the user’s own risk, provided they have been registered for use within the College and they meet applicable standards. Registration forms are provided to students at the beginning of each academic year and are also available at the Porters’ Lodge.

Cooking Appliance Registration Form – online

4.5.17 Electrical Safety and Fittings

Power points on staircases are of the 3-pin, 13 amp fuse variety. The following rules are intended to safeguard personal safety and prevent overloading of the supply:

  • One multi-way extension lead may be used in each room, provided it is of the distributor block with trailing lead type and is fused. Cable reels are dangerous and must not be used.
  • Never attempt to force 2-pin or other non-UK compliant plugs into 3-pin sockets or use any equipment that is not rated for 250 volts or for use in the UK. The use of 2- or 3-pin adaptors with electrical cooking appliances is prohibited.

Under no circumstances must anyone tamper with College electrical equipment or supply. If you are in any doubt about these rules, you should seek advice from College Staff in the first instance.

4.5.18 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

CCTV cameras are used in College to help safeguard the security of people and property. Cameras are positioned to capture views of the main entrances of the College. The Porters view the live pictures from time to time in order to detect any suspicious activity.

Warning signs are in place at the College entrance to inform staff, students, Fellows and members of the public that surveillance cameras are in operation. CCTV footage is retained for 30 days and stored in a secure location. It is then wiped clean if not required as evidence. Information derived from CCTV surveillance will only be used for security purposes, unless it leads to the discovery of an activity that the College could not reasonably be expected to ignore, for example, breaches of health and safety rules that put others at risk. Students have the right of access to information about themselves held on CCTV footage. To request access you will be asked to complete a Data Access Request Form (available from the college website) and provide evidence of your identity. For further information, see the Data Protection section of the College’s Governance web pages.

4.5.19 Gardens

The gardeners maintain the grounds around all College buildings in a tidy, aesthetic and practical manner. The gardens, particularly those facing onto roads, are maintained to give some screening for occupants in their rooms, while minimising opportunities for the concealment of intruders. Principal pathways are maintained to provide a suitable surface for all users, including those with ambulatory problems, and the College is following an active programme to improve access to all areas. While not all paths are fully illuminated, principal routes have suitable intensity lighting to provide security to users.

In the interest of students’ safety BBQs are not permitted in hostel gardens or anywhere in the main College garden.

For more in information click here

4.5.20 Snow and Ice

Students should take particular care during snowy periods that their actions do not cause a hazard for others. Please take extra care around the Courts during wet or icy weather, as the York stone can become slippery.

4.5.21 Visitors and Contractors

Any visitor or contractor on College business will be required to either be escorted throughout the duration of their visit, or if unescorted, will be required to sign in at the Porters’ Lodge where they will be issued with either a visitors’ or contractors’ identification badge. Badges are worn at all times whilst on College premises and should be surrounded for inspection if required to do so. On leaving the College, visitors and contractors should return to the Porters’ Lodge to sign out and return their identification badges.

4.5.22 Environmental Protection

Sharps boxes and sanitary towel containers

Legislation under the Environmental Protection Act requires that sharp items which have been in bodily contact (e.g. needles used for first aid and by diabetics) must be disposed of separately from rubbish. There is a sharps bin in the Bathroom opposite the Surgery (Ground Floor, B staircase). The Act also requires that sanitary towels must be disposed of separately, and containers are provided for this purpose.