Langwith College Provost, John Issitt, has this week banned the traditional weekly Langwith Punch event after last week’s session “got completely out of hand”.
Langwith Punch has been running for 26 years and is, according to Sam Asfahani, Langwith JCRC Chair, “central to the Langwith spirit.”
The decision to enforce the ban was taken after two toilets had to be closed due to unacceptable levels of vomit, and one student was found barely conscious, face down in his own vomit.
Issitt claims the traditional event has given him “a lot of grief over the years.” He feels that it is now endangering The Courtyard’s licence as well as forcing cleaning staff to perform “fundamentally unreasonable” jobs.
Issitt commented: “I cannot be seen to condone dangerous levels of drinking… I have [banned Langwith Punch] for the welfare of our community.”
Although Asfahani admitted that the average consumption per person during the two hour punch session is approximately half a bottle of vodka, he still claims that “the event is misunderstood; no one is forced to drink.”
He conceded that the events of the night presented a “huge welfare issue” but also claimed that “it’s never normally that bad.”
Although punch is not officially run by members of the Langwith College JCRC, the majority of those involved with the weekly event are members of the JCRC. Concerns have been raised over whether JCRC members, who are supposed to be figures of responsibility, should be allowing such irresponsible drinking.
Ben Humphrys, YUSU Welfare Officer, commented: “No event should promote irresponsible drinking, and it’s important that at college events JCRCs ensure no-one feels pressured into drinking too much.”
Many students within Langwith view the decision as unreasonable. One student who attended the controversial party, said: “What happens on that night is no different than what happens at any other social: people get drunk.”
Asfahani says he “understands the Provost’s decision” but does not “support it”. He is “hopeful” that Langwith Punch will be reinstated, claiming: “There are no problems with Punch that can’t be solved.”
Many students have voiced fears that banning the event will not prevent it from happening; it will simply force it off campus where the University will not be able to monitor it. According to Asfahani, this could create even greater welfare issues.