By Henry Clare
Durham University and the City Safety Group have announced a series of measures to tackle the “alcohol culture” at the University.
The new policies come as a response to the tragic deaths of Euan Coulthard, Luke Pearce and Sope Peters.
Earlier today, Durham’s Chief Constable Mike Barton claimed that all three students were “paralytically drunk” when they fell in the river, and that students need to take more “personal responsibility” for their drinking habits.
As a result of the measures, the Student’s Union will launch a £50,000 campaign – funded by Durham Country Council – to promote positive drinking behaviours.
The majority of the changes will effect college bars, in order to target students that ‘pre-drink’ ahead of evenings out. These include a minimum price policy on alcoholic drinks, and impositions to make college bars a social – rather than drinking – environment, such as the introduction of coffee machines.
Bar staff have also been told to stop serving students that are visibly drunk, and soft drinks will now be available free of charge at college events.
Durham Police will also give a series of talks to students about how to act safely during evenings out, and information about personal safety and alcohol consumption will be available in college handbooks.
The University is also working hard to form a partnership with local taxi companies, to ensure that that “at-risk” students have a safe way of getting home.
Speaking about the new policies, Professor Ray Hudson, Acting Vice Chancellor, said: “Durham’s senior management is treating the matters of student safety and excessive alcohol consumption with the utmost seriousness.
“We are committed to taking action but we recognise that these are issues which can only be addressed through a multi-agency approach. Addressing the alcohol culture which has developed in our society as a whole will involve a major shift in attitudes”.
Photograph: Venus Loi