The Durham Night In’s principal aim was to raise awareness around the recent spate of spikings in the city, rather than to exact a direct economic blow to nightlife venues, according to its principal organiser, Hala Heenan.
Heenan, the current St Chad’s College JCR President, told Palatinate that the boycott primarily aimed to bring “students together in solidarity”.
“It’s about raising awareness, having these conversations, and hopefully evoking some change. We want to empower people to be able to go out and have the right resources, and the right information to feel like they can go out safely and enjoy themselves.”
Speaking on the afternoon of the boycott, she explained that she had been encouraged by the level of support from both students and nightclubs. Heenan was also positive about Durham Constabulary and North of Durham University Hosptial’s response to the campaign.
“I’m very encouraged by it”, she stated. “I don’t think the issue is going to go away overnight. But they’ve been really receptive to the campaign.”
She noted that in conversations with local police, they had stressed that even if students are unable to obtain toxicology reports, they can still report suspected spiking cases to police. Cups that may have been spiked and even vomit from potential victims can provide crucial evidence.
There have been several calls for the boycott to be extended beyond Tuesday night. Heenan responded to accusations that a single-day boycott would prove insufficient, by saying “people are taking us seriously, so I don’t see the need to continue it.”
Image: Thomas Tomlinson