By Anna Tatham
JD Wetherspoon has defended its new ID policy whereby national ID cards, relied on by many international students, are “not acceptable proof-of-age documents”.
International students, who make up 30% of the Durham University student body, are henceforth only accepted into Lloyds’ Wednesday night event if they show a valid passport, photo card driving license (UK or international), Pass Hologram cards, citizen cards, prove it card, U Identity card, or Military Card.
The chain has argued recent fraudulent activity regarding international ID cards, causing heavy fines for the company, led to the nationwide change in policy.
A petition has been created to lobby changing the policy and has over 500 signatures.
Palatinate spoke to Pauli Soravia, a second-year Geography student at Van Mildert from Austria, who began the petition.
He called the policy “outrageous, xenophobic and chauvinistic”.
“I wanted to provide a voice for the students at Durham who are not of UK origin, especially for first years who wouldn’t know how to go about this issue, considering that there has been a huge increase in the number of international students here this year.
“I also found it ridiculous since no other club in Durham has this policy, and that I can use my national ID card to travel across Europe with no problem, but can’t get into a student nightclub.
“Now I can either take my passport out, which is highly unsafe, or choose to sit the night out. Passports are expensive and difficult to replace, and it can lead to identity fraud if they are lost/stolen.”
Others have expressed their anger, with some claiming they “haven’t been back since” and others calling the policy “unfair, exclusionary & unreasonable”.
“This is a ridiculous policy that just serves to effectively ban international students. Unfathomable reasoning, nothing can justify the deliberate exclusion of international IDs” says Jordan Noffke, a second-year Geography student at Grey College.
Another student, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Palatinate: “[Lloyds] definitely doesn’t feel like the same safe place it felt like two years ago, and it has made me think twice about going again.
Anona Galbraith, a fourth-year Biosciences student, said: “a bar should not need a higher security check than a national border”.
Guy Stoker, Manager of Lloyds Bishops’ Mill told Palatinate: “We want everybody in.
“As we are a corporate company with have to abide by our company policies.
“It’s an impossible task to actual train all our staff on every single international ID card as you probably can imagine.”
He advises students to buy PASS hologram card, which is accepted as a form of identification. PASS hologram citizen cards cost £20.
JD Wetherspoon said: “In all of our pubs, we have adopted the Challenge 21 or Challenge 25 policy. If a member of staff believes that a customer looks under 21 or 25 years, they will be asked to prove that they are aged over 18 years.
“Acceptable documents to prove age are a valid passport, a UK or Ireland photo card driving licence, a UK military ID or any PASS-accredited proof-of-age card. All ID must have a photograph, include date of birth and outline the validity period for the document.
“Our staff may accept other identification documents which meet all of the ID requirements; however, this is at their sole discretion – if they are unsure about the document’s authenticity/validity or are unfamiliar with its features, they may feel unable to accept them.
“A National ID card is not an acceptable proof-of-age document and we cannot accept this form of identification.”
Photograph: Chris via Flickr