The appeal was a collaboration between the Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin student unions, and JCR women’s and non-binary officersLouis Ashworth

Content Note: this article contains mention of drink spiking and sexual harassment

This Monday (25/10) the Cambridge Student Union (SU) voted unanimously to back the appeal to Cambridge nightclubs which supports the nation-wide boycott of clubs this Wednesday (27/10).

The appeal was a collaboration between the Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin student unions, and JCR women’s and non-binary officers.

The boycott comes after a rise in reported spiking incidents across the country. The Cambridgeshire Police said that they have received 25 reports of people who believe that their drinks have been spiked since July.

Churchill College’s Women and Non-binary officer, Arianna Ponte, told Varsity that it is being released now “due to the current public attention on the topic and to enhance the impact of the boycott.”

“Drink spiking and predation”, Ponte believes, “have always been prominent issues and this is a way in which we can hold clubs accountable in the long run.”

Addressed to nightclubs in Cambridge, the appeal calls for new measures to be introduced in order to improve their safety.

These include: the introduction of a “contacts roster” for college and accommodation staff, free drink covers and tighter regulations on the serving and disposal of drinks.

The appeal also calls for the display of the legal consequences of spiking in bathrooms, extensive training of new and existing staff and encouragement of reporting to respective college’s pastoral support.


Mountain View

Cambridge nightclub boycott planned in protest of increase in spiking incidents

The Cambridge SU also believes that nightclubs must be held accountable in the long-term. Ponte said that she “wanted to redirect the momentum of the boycott” away from “awareness raising and cinematic flair” and instead “tether it to a concrete and specific agenda.”

The appeal also calls for support from the University: The SU will “lobby colleges to train their porters and other appropriate college staff to support students returning from nights out and to respond appropriately to disclosures of sexual violence, as well as to lobby for all colleges to implement the welfare taxi scheme.”

The SU have however critised petitions that call for bouncers to given greater search powers, fearing that they “would have adverse consequences (e.g. via racial profiling) for people in marginalized groups.”

The appeal is currently signed by over 45 different groups, all of whom will receive updates on the success of their demands via a mailing list. But its organisers want the list to grow, saying they are always “open to add other teams, committees or societies that were not able to add their signatures in time to the mailing list.”