Students’ Union U-turns on boycott of campus-based nightclub events

Image: Shepheard Epstein Hunter

Leicester Students’ Union (SU) has made a U-turn, now encouraging students to boycott the O2 Academy, after the original statement last week faced criticism from students.

The original statement released by the SU encouraged students to continue to attend events held at the O2 Academy whilst boycotting city clubs, as part of the wider boycott of nightclubs surrounding reports of spiking by injection.

A spokesperson for the Big Night In* group in Leicester stated: “We’re definitely happier now with the new statement saying to boycott the O2, it looks as though they are looking more into the meaning behind the whole movement.”

Several students have gone to the national media after they have been injected with drugs whilst in nightclubs.

This has led to the nationwide Girls Night In movement, also known in some places as Big Night In, with students at several universities leading the proposed boycott of nightclubs.

The updated SU statement on 22 October stated: “The statement and action plan we published on Wednesday was guided by students and in complete support of the national ‘Girls Night In’ campaign.”

The representative of the Big Night In group in Leicester stated: “They have reached out in a group message on Instagram. We responded, but they have not messaged since then.

“I also sent them an individual message to their page, and they didn’t respond to it.

“There has been no direct conversation, it is concerning.”

The original statement faced criticism from students, as this representative continues: “A lot of people were coming forward and saying that we’re not happy with the statement at all.”

The original statement by the SU stated: “the O2 Academy is one of the safer venues in Leicester and already provides the search provisions that the boycott is requesting.”

The updated statement from the SU stated: “We receive no money from AMG (O2), Rockstar or LSP.”

The updated statement highlighted measures that are already in place at the O2 including full body searches, free drink stoppers, an on-site medic, extensive CCTV, and student only access.

The measures that are yet to come into force are to bring back DrinkAware trained staff, a place for students to share taxis, a safe place away from the dancefloor, and in case of emergency cards.

A Leicester Big Night In group representative stated: “They’ve highlighted some preventative steps that I think I’ve definitely needed and are very important. And if these measures are put in place, it’s absolutely fantastic. But it’s about when these come into practice and seeing them come into place.”

Rockstar Promotions, who run the student nightclub events at the O2 Academy, released a statement which stated: “One spiking is too many so we have taken extra special steps to prevent this happening:

– All drinks will now be served with plastic cups. Lids. And straws (any venue wanting help getting these let us know)

– We will continue to search everyone on entry

– Qualified on site first aider at all times”

We will continue to report on this story as it develops.

*Girls Night In rebranded to Big Night In after initial publication of this article.

Toby Cray is a final-year journalism student and the magazine’s Vice President. You can find him on Twitter here.

You can read Toby’s satirical work on his personal blog.

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