Downing It

Downing Students have been warned of the dangers of excessive drinking after a fresher almost DIED earlier this term.

Downing College have warned students about the dangers of binge drinking tonight, after a student came close to DYING earlier this term.

In an email sent to all members of the College, the Master AND Senior Tutor said there had been an “increase in excessive drinking” amongst students, and said students were now drinking “both before dinner and afterwards.”

The email went on to warn that a student, thought to be a fresher, almost died earlier this term after choking on her own vomit. An ambulance also reportedly had to be called to attend to a drunk student at Downing earlier this term in a separate incident.

Master Barry Everitt and Senior Tutor Graham Virgo warned that binge drinking could risk not only students’ health but also their future prospects.

They wrote: “excessive drinking puts you as individuals at risk of violent assault in the city, and also at risk of infringing the law; for some of you, such as intending lawyers and doctors, this may prevent you from pursuing your intended career.”

Second year Downing student Hamesh Khatkar told The Tab: “I think there’s been a few issues in our year and with the freshers. It’s a bit exaggerated though to be honest.

“Although there is definitely a culture of binge drinking, the situation seems to have been exaggerated by the college. This is understandable given the reputation they want to upkeep.”

The Master and Senior Tutor said the college would offer help and counselling to any members of the college struggling with alcohol problems.

Downing Bar Manager Becky Powell said the bar tried to keep a lid on drinking, saying: “We encourage responsible drinking and do not condone drinking to excess we just want people to have a good time within responsible limits.”

But some students have hit out against the email. Downing third year Sophie Thorpe said: “We’re adults, we’re entitled to do what we like.”

The email is the latest attempt by Cambridge colleges to tackle binge drinking.

Last year the Orchids, the Downing College Girl’s Drinking Society, were fined for bad behaviour, with wine at college functions being reduced as a result.

St John’s College also introduced a ‘babysitting’ scheme for drunk students last term. Student volunteers are paid up to £100 to look after students too drunk to look after themselves.

John’s third year Ysemay Hackett-Evans, who looked after a fresher as part of the scheme, said: “I think it’s really good, the person I looked after was found on their own in the middle of Cambridge so she wouldn’t have been looked after by friends.”

She added: “They need to get to the roots of it, but that’s quite a big problem to tackle. I think it’ll take years to tackle binge drinking. It’s better to do something rather than nothing.”

Dowing College could not be reached for comment.

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