By Rhydian Morris
Swansea students expressed their frustration this week over the planned prohibition of alcohol being brought by students from outside the sketty lane held varsity events. Students will be prohibited from bringing any alcohol into the event and will be required to purchase any alcohol consumed from the licensed student union bars on site. It is planned for students to be searched on entry to ensure any outside alcohol is confiscated before entering.
The prohibition on alcohol is a significant departure from previous varsity events, where students typically brought their own alcohol to the events. Understandably the change has upset many students who were used to the previous organisation of varsity. Many students have expressed concerns that the union will not be able to fulfill the need for alcohol by the 9000 students expected to attend, with concerns over lengthy queues being quite prevalent. This worry has been partially justified by the lengthy queues students faced at the official varsity collection day on Wednesday 13th April.
Students have been sharing their worries and frustration on the popular anonymous social media site Yik Yak, over the news. Posts on the site have ranged from testosterous boasting about “Bringing in the alcohol anyway”, various insults towards university and union staff, to rumour circulation on the reason of the decision. The most popular rumour being the implication of greed from the University and Student’s union, and the assertion that the Union was in debt and was “ripping off” students to balance its budget.
The bile on Yik Yak has been so severe over the decision that the Union released a promotional social media post outlining the facts and myths over the coming Varsity event and the reasoning on the decision made. Though that seems to have only partially sated the angry student population. The union in its posts denied it is in debt, a fact corroborated by its accounts declaration at the annual Agm earlier this year. It further insisted the decision had been reached on the basis of a cross party committee of Cardiff and Swansea union staff on the basis of British Law.
Lloyd Harris (The current president elect of the student’s union) had this to say about varsity on a widely shared social media post:
“ I’d like to allay any rumours that have been circulating about the upcoming Welsh Varsity on Wednesday.
Quite simply, businesses, organisations and individuals who want to sell or supply alcohol in England and Wales must have a licence from a licensing authority – usually a local council. The law and policy governing this area is overseen by the Home Office (Licensing Act 2003).
On Wednesday, the Sports Centre and surrounding fields will be licensed, because quite simply, it’s the law. There’s going to be over 10,000 people in the relatively small area, and so we need to make sure everyone is safe.
The decision for this was made by a committee of people from both Cardiff and Swansea University, Students’ Union’s, Police and Council.
Your Students’ Union is here for you. We’re a not for profit organisation, focused on providing a safe and fun environment for you to enjoy yourselves. Any money we make goes straight back in to your student experience.
At Varsity, we’ll have full bars available, offering great value food and freshly poured, chilled ciders and beers. I know it’s frustrating that you’ll have to spend a little bit more money, but compared to a warm flagon of Strongbow from your backpack, I know what I’d prefer.
Regardless of all of this, Varsity is quite simply a day of sitting out in the sun, dancing around to great music and watching your mates run around fields and astro turf pitches smashing Cardiff.
I for one can’t wait for Wednesday. Cardiff, bring it on.”