An Embarrassing Back-Pedaling from Lonsdale College or Finally Just Some Clarification?

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The Lonsdale College bar, the Red Lion, packed out on Friday night.

(Image credit: Lonsdale College Facebook page)

As I’m sure you will have heard by now on Friday Lonsdale College of Lancaster University emailed its students to make them aware of a “Drunkenness Crackdown” with the intention to fine students £200 for “being drunk.” Since then, following our original post on The Lancaster Despatch Box the story has gone viral with 1000s of views on our article and the national press reporting the story including the Independent, the Huffington Post, the National Student and the Tab. However, yesterday Lonsdale students received another strange email from their college Admin, this time appearing to completely back track from the original “crackdown” or simply wording their intentions a little clearer.

The email started out with the cheeriest of welcomes, rather different to size 50 font, bold and capitalised DRUNKENNESS CRACKDOWN of the original message. It proclaimed “the SCR and particularly the Dean wish to say a big “Thank You to everyone who came and supported Friday night’s event in the college bar…There was a great atmosphere from very early in the evening with large numbers having a great time with their friends and enjoying a drink – with not a single case of drunkenness!” However, there were rumours circling that the bar management had hired bouncers to keep out the College staff to prevent them from fining students. But given the accounts of many who were in the bar that night, some students were certainly heavily under the influence but no one has received a fine.

The College finally gave some explanation as to why the original order was put in place as “there have been two serious incidents involving ambulance trips and hospital admission related to alcohol this term.” Though they also stated that “it is not known whether either of these had been due to drinking in Lonsdale bar” so yet again it is confusing as to why this rule was only implemented into Lonsdale bar and not the other campus bars or even the Student Union, The Sugarhouse.

The email went on to clarify in accordance to Lancaster University rule 2.28 “getting drunk and unable to look after yourself or control yourself in a public place or licensed premises is against the law” though this was clearly not the original wording of the threatening first email stating “any student who appears drunk.” Lonsdale College went further to admit “no one is ever fined or will be fined for merely being under the influence.”

Is this an embarrassing show of back-pedalling from the College in response to the national criticism it has caused or was it simply a badly written original email? Some have even speculated whether this was all a publicity stunt to get more students to use the bar. If this was the case it was clearly successful with the large turnout seen in the Red Lion on Friday night, proving to be the busiest night since Fresher’s Week.

Either way one thing this incident has proven is the power of the student body in using the social networks, with the ability to get the College to acknowledge our anger over the attempted absurd “Drunkenness Crackdown.” Students 1, Lonsdale College 0.

By Lizzie Roberts

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