Students at Aberystwyth University who surf and sail are being plagued by the state of the local sea water, according to Jess Stevenson of Courier magazine. Despite having Blue Flag status, which should indicate a safe zone, it is feared that the water at the town's South Beach is unsafe. One victim, Will Spencer, commodore of the sailing club, suffered a bad case of diarrhoea and missed two essay deadlines after sailing in the area. And surfer Tom Chase has had an upset stomach several times. He was quoted as saying he felt that "the whole world fell out my ass." A kayaker, Lowri Davis, gave advice to students. She finds it helpful to drink cola before getting in the sea, believing that the acid from the drink kills potentially harmful bacteria.
Binge-drinking has hit the headlines of Edinburgh's Student Newspaper. It reports that members of the university boat club have been incensed by negative coverage in The Scotsman of a fund-raising event called the "1,000 pint challenge". According to The Scotsman, the event aimed to get rowers to drink 1,000 drinks in a pub, with the incentive of a £1,000 prize, and e-mails were sent to first year rowers saying that the event was obligatory and a "warm-up" for club initiations. Alcohol Focus Scotland was approached by The Scotsman and described the event as "appalling". But the Student Newspaper's Paul Traynor wrote a sympathetic piece about the boat club's stance, describing The Scotsman piece as negative spin about a worthy cause. He reported that Festival Inns, which hosted the event, promised a return on all drinks bought, so there was no pressure for participants to down 1,000 pints.
The Glasgow University Guardian reports that unscrupulous landlords have been encouraging students to pretend to be gay to bypass housing legislation. Cohabiting couples, including those in same-sex relationships, are classed as one unit. In houses of three or more units a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) license is required, which entails extra responsibilities for the landlord.
The paper's Robert Mackie went undercover and found a letting agent who was happy to encourage students to pretend to be gay. And a Glasgow student, Lauren Dempster, spoke to the paper, claiming that this summer the same letting agent offered her and two female friends a flat on the basis that the group would "move in as a couple and another party".
The Guardian also discovered confusion at the local council as to how well the housing legislation was being enforced. A housing officer was quoted as saying: "These people are stating that they are in a relationship and sign a form to say that. The council accepts that and...well, that gets us off the hook if there's a fire." He added that "Quite a lot [of students] have tried it but when it comes to our forms they backed down." His views were vigorously countered by a council spokesperson, who said: "Glasgow City Council has a very proactive and robust enforcement policy as far as non-licensed HMOs are concerned," adding that the officer could face disciplinary action for his unauthorised stance.
Thanks to David Crow, Glasgow University Guardian; David Allen, The Courier; Alex Kay, Student NewspaperReuse content