Lancaster students threatened with heavy fines for 'appearing to be drunk'


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The Independent Online

Students in Lancaster could potentially have faced heavy fines if they are seen to be drunk at one of their most popular campus bars.

In an email sent out on Friday, the university said that students “who appear to be drunk” at the Lonsdale College bar would be fined up to £200. Additionally, students caught buying a drink for someone who is drunk can now be fined up to £250, while bar staff caught selling alcohol to drunks are also liable for a £250-fine.

Lancastrian students are up in arms at the news, and within a few hours of the email going out, hundreds of angry students had packed out the bar.

Lewis Donaghy, a bartender in Lancaster’s campus bars told The Independent that students had reacted “predictably extremely angrily to this ridiculous proposition”.

Donaghy claimed that the new rules had been passed down in response to a buy one get one free promotion run by the bar on Friday nights, which the university management was said to be against.

The email, sent out by Lonsdale College’s administrator Juli Shorrock said that “students found in Lonsdale Bar or coming out of Lonsdale Bar who appear to be drunk to a Porter, College Officer or Assistant Dean will be required to identify themselves and will be summoned to a disciplinary hearing”.

There was no indication as to how drunkenness might be measured.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the university insisted that this was a "one-off campaign... to raise awareness of UK law on getting drunk and the potential consequences".

They added: "The ban was not enforced and the bar operated normally. There was a great atmosphere from very early in the evening with large numbers having a great time with their friends and enjoying a drink. Lonsdale bar has been praised by the police for being run responsibly and we intend to keep it that way.

"The university only fines students where there is damage to property or persons."

For his part, Donaghy said that students were prepared to fight any new rules if they became permanent.

He said: “Lonsdale Bar saw its busiest night since Freshers' Week on Friday as a result of this offensive Orwellian proposal. They wanted a boycott of the promotion, they tripled the number of customers. It was beautiful.” 

“You'd think that £9,000 a year would buy you the right to have a drink on your own campus, wouldn't you?”