Sports members could be prevented from participating in sports fixtures if they misbehave at Union events in new rules released by Cardiff Students’ Union.
The AU Social and Behaviour Policy refers to behaviour both “off and on the field of play.”
It comes in the wake of a clampdown on ‘lad culture’ by the National Union of Students. AU President, Sam Parsons spoke to Gair Rhydd about the new policy. He said: “This has been bubbling under the surface for a long time and we feel we need to take a stronger stance on how behaviour in the nightclub, licensed premises needs to be acted upon.” Parsons criticised the current policy by suggesting that the modern rules “weren’t very effective.”
“We want to make sure our clubs, our AU members are positive role models for the wider student community and therefore we are looking at that this process is ensuring that they are these positive role models.”
“We will make the process as fair as possible, as equitable as possible and as balanced as possible. We want to work with clubs and work with those individuals and not against them. We want a positive message to come out of our sport.”
A number of high-profile incidents involving Cardiff sports clubs last year have given new impetus to the AU to attempt to draw a line under poor behaviour. Such incidents include a Medic Rugby player publicly urinating onboard a ferry, hockey players running naked through the Julian Hodge library, and members of the Cricket Club hanging Ulster Unionist flags outside popular student haunt Koko Gorillaz.
Parsons defended the call to introduce the new policy by suggesting that the decision has not come in the wake of any of the above incidents. “There’s a lot going on at the moment with the anti lad culture policies that have come down from NUS. We are one of the pilot unions to be doing that this year.”
It is important to note that the AU isn’t going to ban people from playing for minor incidents. “We’re not going to stop people from playing in BUCS if they are just stupid on a night out.” Parsons added: “There’s a connection between how you behave on the field and off it, we’re not trying to use it as an imposing measure.”
Quizzed about the policies’ link to initiations, Parsons insists that he trusts his committee members: “Our policy on initiations are our the activities laws. We send that out to all the committees – our number one priority is student welfare. I understand that initiations are big team building events – call them what you want: ‘welcome drinks’, ‘initiations’, whatever, they are team building events, but student safety and student welfare are at the heart of that activity and if that’s up kept during the whole time of that activity going on then that is our stance as an AU.”
It’s when that line gets crossed that intervention will take place. I have the utmost trust in our committees; I’ve met the committees now and I have a lot of trust in them, with safety being the paramount importance.”