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On the 16th November, the Students’ Union announced that the Executive Committee had approved a policy laid out by VP Welfare Amy Merchant in response to the recent Lancaster Night In Movement, which began the latest dialogue on how safe students feel at nightclubs, particularly with regards to spiking.
Similarly to the Movement, Amy Merchant’s now approved policy named accordingly, ‘Solidarity with ‘Lancaster Night In’, aims to tackle the problem without students being expected to change their lifestyle habits. Instead, it lays out plans to tackle and reinforce the safety and welfare training of staff working at the Sugarhouse, ensuring that any safety measures in place are made known and accessible.
VP Welfare, Amy Merchant, worked in consultation with other relevant parties including ‘Lancaster Night In’, the Women+ Forum, and the JCRs to produce this policy.
Beginning with the promotion of pre-existing provisions already in place at the Sugarhouse, Amy Merchant comments on the policy’s commitment to a ‘communications campaign’ to raise awareness and advice on these provisions and how they can be used in all situations.
This ‘Communications Campaign’ segment of the policy will involve a webpage that host a complete list of all present provisions, alongside resources on social media showing them in use.
The policy will also be working to improve the availability of information in the Sugarhouse itself through more fliers and posters in the bathrooms and welfare rooms. These will explain how to tell if yourself or a friend has been spiked, as well as the support available to deal with the situation safely.
Furthermore, the policy also regards further training for Sugarhouse staff, detailing an already confirmed session scheduled for the 27th November. An increase in staff training will reinforce staff knowledge on the safety provisions in place as well as the appropriate actions they should be taking in suspected spiking situations.
Acknowledging diversity at Lancaster University and the need for sensitivity and inclusivity during duty of care, these sessions will also focus on equality, diversity, and inclusivity training.
Most interestingly though is the policy’s outlining of the Students’ Union commitment to lobbying other night-time venues in Lancaster to implement similar measures, encouraging the safety of students no matter where they may be headed.
Whilst the details of how exactly they plan to do so are not specified, the policy does state that the Students’ Union will help student groups to reflect upon which venues are appropriate for the welfare of their members.
Encouragingly, the Executive Committee aim to put these policy initiatives into immediate effect.
While the exact impact of the policy will have to be seen, it is certainly a very encouraging step forward for the Night In Movement and the safety of the student body.