A controversial survey at Nottingham’s China campus has revealed that 55% of students are in favour of abolishing the 11pm curfew.
Over 2,000 students, both domestic and international, participated in Ningo Students’ Union’s survey about the curfew. It asked domestic students whether they felt that the “access control” to their accommodation was necessary. 55% voted in favour of its annulment.
Chinese students are obliged to return to their accommodation at 11pm every night, and on weeknights their internet is also cut off at this time. The campus has a swipe card access system that is monitored by on-campus police to enforce the curfew. International and postgraduate students are exempt from these rules.
A curfew policy is widespread in Chinese universities, despite being neither a legal nor academic requirement. However, as one of the few ‘international’ universities based in China, the policy is seen as particularly controversial amongst Ningbo students because it segregates them based on their nationality.
Whereas some of the students that spoke to Impact said that the curfew was a “nuisance” and “unfair” when they see and hear international students roam freely on campus, there are those that have voiced concerns about a potential abolishment. The domestic student accommodation on Ningbo is largely centred around shared areas, be it a kitchen or a dorm room. 2nd year International Studies student, Xu, worried that he would get disturbed at night by his roommates if there was no curfew.
Another concern is whether the University’s reputation in China may be harmed if the curfew is lifted. 3rd year International Business student, Ma, pointed out that in China “parents play a much greater role in deciding their children’s future”. By being the first university to adopt a no-curfew policy, many have assumed that the new lifestyle would lead to “parties and late nights”.
The view that many students share is that parents would be unwilling to send their children to a university that is seen to be supporting such behaviour. All the students that spoke to Impact predicted a drop in the number of applicants to the university.
A compromise has been suggested in the form of the removal of the curfew on a Friday and Saturday night, in order to ease both students and their parents into the idea of more independence at Ningbo. This could then form the basis for further reductions of the curfew in future.
The Students’ Union are determined to push forward with the process and change could be seen as early as the start of next term.
An extended feature on life at Ningbo campus will be published in the December issue of Impact.