Over the past month, Fenner Hall residents have received emails containing anonymous apology letters from students who had shouted “Wake up Fenner” outside the hall or caused other late-night noise disruptions. 

The “Wake up Fenner” phrase is shouted by other ANU residents and has become a practical joke amongst residential colleges. It is a frequently reported disruption and has been an on-going problem at the hall and primarily impacts residents in the Kambri-facing South Tower of the hall. 

A South Tower Fenner resident told Woroni that “Wake up Fenner” often causes a “significant disruption to [their] sleep.” They noted that during the summer, they have to “choose between being awoken by the extreme heat if [they] left [their] windows closed or the shouting on [University Avenue] if [they] left them open.”

On average, this Fenner resident attests to hearing “Wake up Fenner or other related screaming… 2-3 days per week and usually 2-4 times each evening that it happens.” They explained that it “regularly happens on Thursday [to] Saturday nights but was an almost everyday occurrence [during] N-Week and O-Week.”

Emails sent to Fenner hall residents.
Emails sent to Fenner hall residents.

A Fenner resident told Woroni that while they understand the “intention behind the emails” and “appreciate that it shows something is being done to reduce the impact, it is difficult to consider these apologies genuine when it is clear that students are making a mockery.” They referred to the phrase “random sadistic thoughts” as one such example. 

They continue, “it can feel belittling when these mocking apologies are emailed to [Fenner residents]” and that “requesting perpetrators to write an exaggerated apology…fails to rectify the issue and is more than likely to encourage it.”

The student suggested, “face-to-face meetings between perpetrators and wellbeing staff at Fenner” would be a more appropriate alternative as it “instigates a more genuine responsibility from [students].”

The ANU spokesperson stressed that the University is taking greater precautions to respond to noise disruptions, including “engag[ing] extra security coverage during peak periods in an attempt to prevent these types of incidents from occurring, as well as help identify those who may be breaching community standards.”

The spokesperson emphasised that “[it] is important for students’ concerns to be addressed and that any behaviour that disrupts the community standards of ANU be managed in accordance with ANU policies.”

They also noted that “[it] is… appropriate for apology statements to be made available and shared with the intended recipient/s.”

The University’s primary concern is the impacts of noise disruption on the “overall well-being of residents.” The spokesperson noted that “[the] University has [additionally] placed prominent signage along University Avenue and within the Kambri precinct.” 

The signage aims to “[remind] the community that [University Avenue and the Kambri Precinct are] also near residential facilities” and that “people [must] be respectful of their surroundings.”

The ANU spokesperson also noted that the University has established a “reporting tool for residents who are impacted by noise.” QR codes directing students to this reporting tool have been circulated around Fenner Hall. The University encourages “all residents to notify Unisafe and/or their duty SR of any noise disruption.”

According to an ANU spokesperson, the University has the authority to “[request] that occupant[s] make an apology” in line with their Occupancy Agreement “following a review of a report of misconduct.” This misconduct includes noise disruptions. 

In one apology letter sent to Fenner residents, an anonymous student stated that they were “stop[ped]… outside of the Harry Hartog bookstore and asked for [their] Uni ID’s” by ANU Security after having sung while on University Avenue after a night out. The ANU Security proceeded to take a photo of [the Uni IDs] before sending [them] on [their] way.” 

However, this student clarified that while they “regret [their] actions… [and] should have been aware of [their] surroundings” they were “at no point in time… shouting ‘Wake up Fenner’ at Fenner Hall.’ 

Another anonymous student expressed that while their “intentions were not malicious” they “did not give the consideration that the residents of Fenner Hall deserve.” They stressed that they “wish[ed] to make [their] sincere apology known.”

A more recent apology email sent by a student who was caught yelling “Wake up Fenner” late at night noted that they did so “under the heavy influence of alcoholic intoxication, and that took away [their] rational thinking.” They also emphasised that due to this, they were “unable to control [themself] from doing things out of random sadistic thoughts.” The student expressed their “sincere remorse.”

We acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land on which Woroni, Woroni Radio and Woroni TV are created, edited, published, printed and distributed. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. We acknowledge that the name Woroni was taken from the Wadi Wadi Nation without permission, and we are striving to do better for future reconciliation.