The College STYC system is being placed under review. Although the system is reviewed annually, there have been a number of incidents during Freshers’ Fortnight which have placed the system in a harsh light.
Bob Hughes, YUSU Welfare Officer, commented that: “We are trying to address this within the STYC system review by making the STYC role clearer, providing more support and training, and making the consequences of breaking the responsibilities of being a STYC more apparent.”
Hughes went on to talk about the need to make the role of STYCs clearer, and concern over the prevalence and pressure to partake in drinking games during Freshers’ week.
Cassandra Brown, Langwith STYC, commented on the way some STYCs perceive what can and cannot be done, stated: “It’s part of the whole thing – I went to University expecting it.” She finished by saying: “It is what Freshers’ week is about, whether YUSU wants to admit it or not.”
Jane Grenville, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Students, voiced her concern over the drinking culture which has emerged in parallel to the introduction of university life.
“Alcohol is a poisonous element to anyone, and excessive consumption often results in questionable behaviour.”
However, she was keen to emphasise that the STYC review happened every year, and the increased incidences this year had no effect upon their decision to look at the current system.
Ambulances have had to be called onto campus on at least five different occasions, often in conjunction with college fresher events. These events are generally regarded as some of the “messiest” nights on campus.
Derwent’s events have become synonymous with excessive drinking. During the Slag and Drag event, on 12th October, ambulances were called by the First Aid staff at the event as a result of students having had too much to drink.
In a separate incident during Freshers’ week one student was required to down drinks, resulting in his near choking on a bottle cap, which was part of a drinking game, organised by his college STYCs.
However Matt Jenkins, Derwent JCRC Chair, commented: “With the amount of freshers we welcomed into Derwent, we are very pleased with how our STYCs acted, and except for a few very isolated incidences, this has been a very successful freshers for Derwent.
“When incidences did take place the senior welfare team within the college, alongside with myself and the JCRC welfare reps, were quick to assess the situation and on the whole this worked very effectively throughout the fortnight.”
Hughes continued by saying that: “The drinking games and social pressure this freshers’ week has been a large concern.” He went on to say that YUSU is planning a strategy of combatting the “potentially damaging culture of drinking games and pressure to drink heavily.”
There have been five ambulances called out during the period 8th October to 22nd October. This is in comparison to only two being called out during a similar length of time at the beginning of the summer.
However, the NHS Ambulance service does not distinguish between ambulances called out for injuries caused by alcoholic events, or injuries caused when not under the influence.
Jane Grenville, University Pro-Vice Chancellor, was keen to stress what a success this Freshers’ Fortnight had been. She stated: “I think that it has gone better than in previous years.”
Grenville continued that there had been no student deaths as a result of alcohol, unlike in the previous five years. She emphasised the negativity of the drinking culture which has emerged in conjunction with Freshers’ week at universities.
Article ammended after requested changes