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Sports Clubs at York to join "Girls Night In" Campaign

Sports clubs will join the boycott amid calls for nightclubs to take more action against spiking

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Image Credit: Badminton Varsity Qualifier 2/2/2019

Students are planning to boycott York’s nightlife this Wednesday 27 October.

The University of York will be joining in with university sport clubs nationwide by boycotting bars and nightclubs amid calls for greater anti-spiking policies to be put in place on nights out. The ‘Girls Night In’ initiative, started by two university students in Edinburgh and Bristol, has reached out to university clubs to join the national boycott.

Wednesday nights tend to be the busiest student night out of the week as it coincides with sports socials.

Tilly Fox, President of the University of York’s Women’s Lacrosse Club, has stated the club’s determination for this to be the first step in striving for change.

“From the get-go” she says, “we wanted to be a part of this initiative because we all believe that everyone should be safe on a night out. We think action needs to be taken and a national boycott like this is a brilliant first step in striving for change and challenging clubs and bars to be more proactive.”

Students and sports clubs around the country are taking part in the boycott to raise awareness, fuelled by the recent discovery of new techniques in which victims are spiked via needle injection.

If nightclubs and bars are not morally compelled to introduce more comprehensive anti-spiking policies, it is hoped that the threat of future boycotts from university sports clubs, and ultimately the financial implications of this, will lead to a proactive response.

Henry Burns Pegler, President of Derwent Men’s Football, believes that the club’s decision to join the boycott will significantly impact nightclubs revenue. The club was one of the first to announce it will join the boycott and is the biggest men’s sport society on campus.

“We thought that as a club it was important to show we support people in this fight. Derwent Football is a big club – we get up to 60 people coming to socials – and we know that us joining the boycott will have a noticeable impact on the revenue of York’s nightclubs and hopefully lead to change”, Henry starts.

“We hope this collective effort will encourage clubs to take greater action in preventing spiking. The club will always support future boycotts if we don’t think enough action is taken to protect people on nights out”.

The significance of this boycott lies in the unity of sports clubs calling for action. The University has over 60 sports societies, with over 1500 students partaking in college sports every week. Sports clubs know that they make up a huge proportion of business for nightclubs in York. Nightclubs cannot risk losing the business of students, and the threat of future boycotts from sports clubs will, it is hoped, incentivise action if the calls of students are not answered with effective measures against spiking.

Salvos have responded to Nouse’s request for their response to the boycott.

“Customer safety is our absolute priority and we do everything we can to ensure we maintain a safe, inclusive, secure and enjoyable environment. Our management team is highly experienced and trained to spot vulnerable guests and provide appropriate care”.

They list increasing searches upon entry, specialist Security Industry Authority staff, extensive CCTV coverage and customer access to spikey’s and lids at the bar as some of the measures they take to prevent spiking.

David Sear, who manages the Salvos and Society nightclubs in York, said “We have a trained first aider on site at all times and a specific first aid room to look after guests if they aren’t feeling well. We make sure that our customers are looked after when leaving the venue. We have street marshals employed to assist with the vulnerable and help students into taxis or to the bus stop.”

Sports clubs have called for more protective measures against spiking despite the current initiatives that are in place. If greater action is not taken by the nightlife industry, future boycotts may take place. Nevertheless, this boycott is the first of what is hoped will be many steps taken to help make York a safer night out for students.

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