By Toby Holloway
Cardiff Students’ Union have come under criticism over the competence of their staff when dealing with incidents at their Wednesday and Saturday nights, YOLO and Juice.
Reports of fights breaking out, girls in the boys’ toilets and students being attacked in the middle of the dance floor have led to a growing concern that SU staff are currently failing to adequately control and supervise their events.
As well as the incidents mentioned above, the state of the toilets, which were flooded, crowded and unsanitary throughout Wednesday night’s YOLO, exacerbated the effects of an already full-to-capacity SU.
Speaking of their experiences in YOLO on Wednesday, one third year CPLAN student, who wished to remain anonymous, said:
“It was like a sauna throughout the whole club. The only escape from the heat was to go to the smoking area, where I saw someone urinating through the railings because the toilets were flooded with about an inch of piss which was then being transferred to the rest of the club.”
They then added: “It was ridiculous really.”
These conditions suggest that not only was the Students’ Union so full that the atmosphere became uncomfortably hot, but that the toilets could not cope with the volume of students using them over the course of the night.
Bouncers also seemed to have their work cut out when it came to who was using the toilets.
One second year student said: “The toilets were so annoying last night, there were like 20 odd girls in the men’s.”
As well as the events of Wednesday night, last Saturday’s Juice brought reports of an alarming incident which occurred in the middle of the dance floor in the main room. One student, who requested to remain anonymous, was hit round the back of the head then attacked by a number of men. Despite receiving multiple injuries to the face, and the attack taking place in plain view of SU staff, nothing was done in the aftermath of the incident. Speaking to Gair Rhydd, the student said:
“[The bouncers] literally did nothing and it was the middle of the dance floor.”
I got hit behind the head then I turned around then they all piled in…didn’t see a bouncer once.”
Speaking of how the SU staff dealt with the fight, the student said: “whenever someone fights us they just grab the tallest kid and kick them out.”
Commenting on the issues relating to fights at recent YOLO and Juice nights, a university spokesperson said:
“Staff are trained to intervene in such situations and will remove individuals involved in any form of fighting in the venue. Whilst the actions of individuals is beyond our control, any form of violence is wholly unacceptable and the Union will ban anyone involved in such acts from the licensed venues.”
Regarding the crowding in the venue and lengthy queues at SU bars, the statement read:
“Capacity for Y Plas is 2,150. All of the YOLO and JUICE club night events have reached capacity so far this term. Once the venue is full we operate a strict one out, one in policy.
“Students are arriving earlier each week and all at the same time meaning that over 2000 people enter the venue within an hour period. The bar provision is currently experiencing an unprecedented demand so in order to improve the situation the Venues team are now creating additional temporary bars within the venue and increasing staffing levels to assist in improving the speed of service at the main bars.”
Aside from the recent issues in the SU, other incidents have been reported by students stating that bouncers have behaved inappropriately towards them on nights out.
Last year’s Halloween Flux descended into chaos when queues overwhelmed bouncers, leading to many people having to wait hours for entrance into the SU. The recent issues with YOLO and Juice have led some to question whether the SU are supporting their staff properly, as bouncers seem understaffed and ill-equipped when dealing with difficult incidents.
One third year student, Gabriella Mansell said: “I’d say the bouncers in the SU are particularly bad. When its busy in the queue they are overly aggressive, but when fights break out on the dance floor they are nowhere to be seen.”
She added: “The queue at last year’s Halloween Flux was really badly managed, with some people getting crushed and others denied entry.”
Another occurrence last year led to one female student being treated in a sexist manner.
Her friend, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke to Gair Rhydd, stating: “My friend said that one of the SU bouncers last year had said to her, something along the lines of, ‘you’re leaving nothing to the imagination in that outfit are you darling’ and then did like a creepy licky face.”
Speaking of her own experiences on the same night, she added: “One of them had said to me something along the lines of – ‘you’ll get in faster if you pull that skirt up a bit’.”
While it is clear that instances of sexism by bouncers towards students are unacceptable, other issues such as dealing with fights and managing queues could be solved by increasing staff numbers and improving support for those charged with supervising SU nights.