Durham University has apologised for a tweet related to drink spiking posted on its Student Wellbeing account, which told students, “don’t get spiked”.
In a statement published in the University’s weekly Dialogue Signposts email, the University said the tweet was “wrong and should not have been issued”, and apologised for any “upset or distress it caused”.
The tweet, which Durham Students’ Union President Seun Twins described as “victim blaming” said: “Drink Spiking is dangerous and something that you can prevent from happening to you and your friends. #dontgetspiked Contact the police as soon as possible in a suspected case so an investigation can be conducted and others protected.”
In a video message to staff, Durham University acting Vice-Chancellor Antony Long apologised for the “upset and offence” that the tweet caused. Long emphasised that if the perpetrators are identified as being students of the University, they will be subject to criminal investigation and disciplinary procedures.
The acting Vice-Chancellor added that the University is working with the police, the NHS and student leaders, as well as nightclubs in the city, and that the University will be providing drink caps to students and reviewing the CCTV coverage in University operated bars and continuing support and training around drug and alcohol awareness across the University.
The apology comes over two weeks after the tweet was posted. In a previous statement posted on their Twitter account, which did not feature an apology, Durham University Student Wellbeing said: “We appreciate the feedback on our recent post about drink safety”.
The statement also said 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 tweet, which received over 900 responses, was posted in response to increased incidents of drink spiking across Durham city as a whole during freshers week.
A report conducted by St Chad’s College’s JCR Vice President Joe Anson revealed that at least 167 unconfirmed cases of suspected drink spiking were reported by Durham University students to JCRs at the beginning of this term.
In response to the increase in drink spiking cases, The ‘Durham Night In’ was organised in tandem with similar initiatives at over 30 UK universities as part of a national campaign protesting drink spiking and insufficient safety measures.
More than 1,400 Durham University students pledged to participate in a student-led boycott of the city’s bars and nightclubs, which took place on Tuesday 26th October.
Image: Durham University via YouTube