Birmingham student’s club safety petition gains more than 1,500 signatures

The petition calls for the Guild of Students to implement further measures at club nights

A University of Birmingham student’s petition to the Guild of Students has received more than 1,500 signatures.

The petition aims to put pressure on the Guild of Students to introduce additional measures to help keep people safe at their club nights: Sports Night and Fab ‘N’ Fresh.

It comes after two students were allegedly spiked by injection at the Guild’s Fab ‘N’ Fresh club night on Saturday 30 October.

The petition

Students at the University of Birmingham have been reacting in horror at reports of two girls allegedly being spiked by injection at the Guild of Students’ Saturday club night, Fab ‘N’ Fresh.

One of the students who says she was spiked by injection was third year, Amy Taylor. She told The Birmingham Tab: “It happened at the end of the night between 2:30am – 3am. I started feeling a throbbing in my right arm and looked down to see a weird looking bruise, but ignored it and thought I was overreacting.”

Amy Taylor

The Human Biology student described to The Birmingham Tab: “My legs started feeling fuzzy and my teeth started chattering. My eyes started rolling back into my head and I started drifting in and out. I couldn’t feel my legs properly.  Although I had drunken a lot that night, I have never acted like that when I’ve been drunk before.”

Read more about the alleged incident here.

Mollie McCooey, a final year student, also claims to have been spiked by needle. Mollie told The Birmingham Tab: “I was at the Underground bar attempting to get my first drink of the evening, and after 10 minutes of queuing, everything around me went into slow motion. After drinking such a negligible amount of alcohol and previously feeling almost sober, I could not work out what was happening or why.”

Mollie McCooey

Although she made it home, the next day, Mollie was taken to hospital. After the doctors took blood samples, ECG’s and administered a Hepatitis B jab, Mollie had a severe reaction to the injection. From this, she was moved to intensive care, as her blood pressure was dangerously low, and spent five hours in resuscitation being stabilised.

Read more about Mollie’s account here.

Emily Webb, who studies Law LLB has started a petition to encourage the Guild of Students to take more action. She told The Birmingham Tab: “I’m angry that the Guild of Students seem to be glossing over women’s safety and issuing statements to publicly appear as though they are doing things to help when, in practice, these do nothing to protect the women at this uni.”

She detailed to The Birmingham Tab how she feels that “the student union should be the one night out that we feel safe. The Guild have taken insufficient action and now this is not the case,” she said.

Emily Webb

“We are calling for the University of Birmingham to implement better screening processes to check student before entering the premises at the guild,” she told The Birmingham Tab. The measures Emily has suggested include “thorough checking of every person before they enter”, “drink covers handed to everyone who walks through the door (not just bottle covers but cup covers)” and a “lifetime ban for those caught with prohibited items (e.g spiking drugs).”

Emily described to The Birmingham Tab: “I’m hoping that the Guild of Students and the University of Birmingham will listen to us and implement measures to ensure women are safe.

“I want to feel safe on my campus and I want to be able to enjoy my final year of university without constantly being scared of things like this,” she said.

Describing the petition campaign, the Law student told The Birmingham Tab: “It’s done well and is on its way to achieving the aims it set out! At 1,500 signatures, I believe we have pressured the Guild into understanding our problems with them, and our demands much better.”

“I think as students, we don’t realise how difficult it is to make so many changes overnight. These changes are incoming, but may take a while to be implemented,” she explained, adding that both women and men must remain vigilant during nights out.

Emily and her friends

“I am trusting their efforts. I think that they’re taking the necessary steps and I am excited for a safer future for women,” she said.

In response, The Guild of Students told The Birmingham Tab: “We are aware of a number of incidents within our venue and have reached out to support those involved. We recognise that many are extremely worried by recent events and would like to reassure University of Birmingham students that safety is a key priority.”

“We want students to feel and be safe on nights out, whether that’s at Guild venues and events, or at venues across the city,” the spokesperson described to The Birmingham Tab. “We have implemented a number of measures within our venue to increase student safety which are set out in our recent statement and published on our website.”

Holding an open meeting on Friday 5 November, the Guild wanted to allow students to “voice their safety concerns and make further suggestions for how we can improve student safety. We are actively considering the implementation of further measures, and will be reviewing students’ feedback carefully. We will be releasing further information shortly,” they said.

To find out more about Emily Webb’s petition, visit the petition website.

For support or advice surrounding drink spiking or safety, contact UBHeard on 0800 368 5819 or Guild AdviceTalk to Frank also has information on spiking including how to stay safe and what to do if you think you’ve been spiked. The charity Victim Support are ready to help you if you’ve been spiked in the past and are struggling to cope. Call them 24/7 on 0808 1689.

The Birmingham Tab contacted the University of Birmingham for comment.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Birmingham student ‘spiked by injection’ at the Guild’s Fab ‘N’ Fresh night

• Snobs confirms four cases of spiking over Halloween weekend

• We spoke to Birmingham clubs about the anti-spiking measures they are taking