Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A Satisfactory Outcome

A couple I often see around college are quite distinctive in their manner and appearance. I often see them around the recesses and stairwells doing things to each other that really shouldn't be seen in public.

The other day I had to go outside and remind them that smoking is not allowed at the picnic tables and that they should remove themselves to the smokers' area at the corner of the main building just a few yards away. This they did without fuss and I considered that to be the end of the matter.

Less than ten minutes later I spotted them, still smoking, at the same table so I went outside and asked them which part of my original request they hadn't understood. As they had so openly defied me I also asked for their names. The lad mumbled his and I managed to catch it on the second attempt. The girl was more reticent and kept asking me why I wanted this information. My intention was to check the database to see if they had a record of ill discipline but I didn't feel inclined to explain this until she had surrendered the information. A condition of attending the college is that all students respect the staff. Eventually she told me and I went back inside.

About ten minutes later I was in the refectory recalling the incident to my own supervisor when the couple approached us. They wanted to apologise and wondered if I was taking the matter further.


I told them I had no intention of reporting it any higher and explained that my annoyance was due to their ignoring my original request. My supervisor also explained to them that the college is required in law to have a designated smokers' area and if any student is found in breach of the rules a letter and a fifty pound fine can be sent to their parents. At this they appeared horrified and explained that they had become engaged in a conversation with some other students and had drifted back to the picnic area without realising. A lame excuse I thought but I let it go. I haven't had any more trouble with the pair since.

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