By Poppy Askham
A new accreditation scheme that will recognise local bars and clubs that instate anti spiking measures has been unveiled.
The #DurhamUnite campaign will see college common rooms in association with the University and Students’ Union (SU), collaborate to encourage venues to take action to combat the recent surge in spiking incidents in the city. Those that do so will be able to display a special charter mark demonstrating their support for the campaign.
Suggested measures include offering cup covers, increasing entrance checks, and providing more staff training.
A study recently found that more than 160 reports of suspected spikings were made to JCRs and college welfare teams in Freshers’ Week, the week before and the weekend after it. Local police have also confirmed that they have received multiple reports of spiking via injection in the city in recent weeks.
The #DurhamUnite initiative follows last week’s student organised boycott of nightclubs on 26th October. More than 90 sports clubs and societies backed the ‘Durham Night In’ and at least three venues closed their doors on the night.
Hala Heenan, the boycott’s principal organiser and current St Chads’ JCR President, welcomed the new campaign. She told Palatinate: “I think it’s a great initiative that’s taking that interagency approach to the issue that the Durham Night In was advocating for.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the action that comes out of the campaign.”
The initiative also comes in the wake of student uproar over a tweet from the University’s student welfare division that told students “don’t get spiked”.
The University stated that the tweet was “wrong and should not have been issued” in an apology released two weeks later.
The statement also said that the University takes concerns about drink spiking “very seriously” and that they will take this opportunity to “learn and improve” its messages on the topic.
The new campaign was revealed by SU welfare and liberation officer, Jonah Graham.
He also noted that the SU is also currently updating its student safety advice and has been planning active bystander training events. Graham called on students to involve themselves with the campaign, explaining “#DurhamUnite is led by student voices throughout the colleges so please speak to your Presidents, your Student Support teams, and your SU so we can respond to what is happening in Durham accordingly”.
Image: Thomas Tomlinson