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University urges cold turkey on student drinking promotions – University of Reading

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University urges cold turkey on student drinking promotions

Release Date 25 October 2006

The University of Reading is urging clubs and bars in the town to think twice before encouraging drinking among students through discounts and promotions. In a move which the University hopes will cut anti-social behaviour and street drinking, while also helping to reduce student robberies and attacks whilst drunk, Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Tony Downes has this week written to all licensed premises in Reading which students are likely to frequent. The move follows a series of incidents where students have been drunk in and around the University's three campuses, causing disturbances and anti-social behaviour. Recently representatives from local bars and clubs have entered the Whiteknights campus to offer promotional discounts to students, and on one occasion parked a double-decker bus distributing free lager just outside one of the halls of residence during Freshers' Week. Professor Downes told licensees: "I would be grateful if you would take note that the University does not permit the promotion of goods and services of commercial organisations on University property. This includes our Whiteknights, London Road and Bulmershe campuses and all halls of residence. If you wish to promote your venue to our students, this must be done via, and with the permission of, the Students' Union, and must never involve the promotion and giving away of free or discounted alcohol. "While we want our students to enjoy their time at Reading, both at University and in the town, we strive very hard to ensure student safety and good community relations. We want to foster responsible attitudes towards drink in our students – this is especially the case for our newly-arrived fresher students – and we would welcome your support. Unfortunately, we receive many local resident complaints relating to night-time noise made by our students returning to halls and private residences from Reading's clubs and bars. I hope you will give this important matter consideration when considering licensing hours, pricing and serving regulations. "I hope you will work with us, and the local authorities and police to protect our students and residents from anti-social behaviour." The Reading University Students Union (RUSU) has recently been awarded the Best Bar None award for corporate social responsibility, actively promotes alcohol awareness among students as well as alerting them to the dangers of drink spiking. Nick Smith, Vice President of RUSU, with special responsibility for welfare, supports the move. He said: "The Students' Union takes community relations seriously and is striving to improve town and gown relations. In the last month I've had correspondence with dozens of local councillors and three MPs about improving safety and increasing student participation in the local area. "The Students' Union funds local community action projects and recently ordered 10,000 guides on safety at night which included a section called 'being good neighbours'. This includes information on walking home through residential areas, arranging a time to be quiet when organising parties and trying to work alongside other residents with local schemes. "We accept that students have to take responsibility for their actions and understand they have to consider the wishes of others, even when they are drunk. We will continue to inform students of the consequences, discipline them and their groups where it is appropriate and work closely with local councillors on issues of licensing and community relations." While the University does not wish to be a kill joy, it has a duty to local residents to be a good neighbour, and also to its students to ensure their welfare is not in danger. The effects of alcohol, for example on co-ordination, emotions and judgment, can place users in dangerous or unwanted situations. ENDS Further information For further information contact Lucy Ferguson, Senior Press Officer, on 0118 378 7388, or email L.Ferguson@reading.ac.uk

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