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Cloakroom carnage at Summer Ball

Students were left waiting for upwards of an hour for coats and other belongings

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Image Credit: Joseph Silke

YUSU has been heavily criticized by students following the organization of its cloakroom at the Summer Ball last night. Battling bad weather, and a high volume of students, a disorganized system prompted items to get lost, or prevented students from accessing their belongings once they had finished the night. Elsewhere, there were further issues, including line length and rides breaking down.

Issues allegedly began, according to an employee who worked at the event, when some students in a rush to get in where either handed incorrect tags for belongings, or did not allow their belongings to be properly organized in their haste to get in. This was exacerbated by the long line to get into the Summer Ball: the queue stretched over 200 meters before the entrance, none of which was covered, leaving students who had chosen to wear dresses especially vulnerable to harsh weather, and becoming wet and cold before entry. Additionally, as Union President James Durcan explains, the cloakroom "struggled to cope with the sheer volumes of additional clothing and gear students brought with them" to prepare for the amber weather alert issued by the Met Office, and the warning issued by YUSU on social media the day before the event.

At the end of the night, when students returned to retrieve their belongings, once again, the high volume of requests and the problems with organization meant that staff were forced to allow students to collect the clothes themselves, searching across multiple stories for clothes that, according to one student, had been "strewn about" and were not hung up or folded due to the rush.

Students searched for over an hour for clothes: eventually, long after the event itself had concluded, students were told to return the day after to collect their belongings. As one commenter on the YUSU apology post put it, the "free-for-all" may have resulted in some items being "stolen" last night. Another said that the system for item return was not sufficiently "secure", commenting that "I had to go upstairs, so I went upstairs and they sent me up another flight and after about an hour and a half in total of looking for my jacket". Additionally, Nouse talked to two students that had their "only house keys" in their coat. When the cloakroom was closed for the evening, these students were forced to find alternative sleeping arrangements for the night, and have thus far been unable to collect their belongings from YUSU.

Despite promises made by the Union on social media that items would be available "by midday", belongings are still being organized in YorSpace on Heslington West campus. Staff reportedly worked until five or six in the morning to codify and transport items back to campus. James Durcan has requested "students looking to retrieve belongings to come to the Student Centre reception on Thursday 13 June from 11am-5pm to collect items with their cloakroom tickets, if they still have them, along with a form of ID."