Candles in University residences

The Old College

The Old College

30 May 2013

Aberystwyth University has been very happy to welcome members of the Orthodox Jewish Community to Aberystwyth for more than 20 years, and it is with great regret that we find ourselves unable to do so again this year.

The University has considered the request for permission to use candles at great length. In reaching its decision not to allow candles to be lit in rooms the University has taken legal and health and safety advice, has been in dialogue with the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, and has undertaken its own risk assessment based on the local context and previous incidents.

The use of candles/naked flames in all University residences is prohibited. This is clearly set out in the terms and conditions which visiting groups are required to sign and abide by during their stay.  Unfortunately, last year there were a number of incidents involving lit candles with this visiting group which prompted the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service to request urgent action to be taken by the University.

During negotiations regarding a proposed visit this year the University was asked to remove the parts of the terms and conditions which referred to flames being lit in accommodation and a suggestion was made by the group that covered flames might be more acceptable to the University.

This proposal was given serious consideration but the University felt that this would compromise safety.

This decision has not been taken lightly and is based purely on fire safety grounds. It has been made in the interest of the safety of those staying in the University’s accommodation and to protect the University’s staff and property.

The University is treating this group exactly the same as any other; all residential visiting groups are required to adhere to our standard terms and conditions. Candles are not allowed in University residences and this also applies to all students living in University residences during term time.

The University has received a number of representations and visits from the group to discuss the issue of candles.  The door for further discussion with members of the group remains open and the University would be delighted to welcome them to Aberystwyth again in future years, as long as they are able to comply with the University’s standard terms and conditions.