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A round up of all the mad, bad and crazy stuff that happened at Bristol University in 2017-18

It’s been a helluva year

"In thirty years of academia, I have never known a year like it". These words from a veteran UoB lecturer neatly sum up the last ten months- what a hell of a year it has been.

Snow, strikes, fire, an earthquake- rarely can there have been a more eventful year in the University's history. From the ongoing rows over the Temple Quarter expansion and new halls system to the perennial issues of staff pensions and the tragic spectre of student deaths, 2017-18 was never short of controversy or conflict.

To balance out the dark times, there was plenty of light too: the sizzling spectacle of Clicendales and Fuze, the annual Varsity clashes, the launch of Bristruths and the new Taka Taka, end of year balls and of course the heartwarming video of Herman Gordon receiving funds from students to travel abroad this summer with his wife.

So sit back and read on for your one stop guide to everything that happen at UoB this year….


Wills Hall was hit by drinks spiking incidences in Fresher's Week

On the first full day of fresher's week, Wills Hall reported that several incidences of drinks spiking had occurred in the hall bar, resulting in national media attention.

England’s Cricket Vice-Captain was arrested after a night out in Mbargos

Ben Stokes was arrested after a night in Mbargos where he left a 27-year-old man with facial injuries. Footage was also released of Stokes impersonating Katie Price’s disabled son.


Hotcha was raided on suspicion of money laundering

The popular fast food chain Hotcha was brought under suspicion of tax avoidance and laundering in October. Buildings were raided by HMRC, and ten individuals in Bristol and South Gloucestershire were arrested as a result. They were released after questioning.

McDonald’s started a home delivery service in Bristol

Students no longer had to make the trek to Cabot Circus to fulfil their hungover food fantasy. Instead, McDonald’s became a key player in the UberEATS app this year in Bristol, making every freezing student household a little better.


Thekla was threatened with closure following proposed residential developments

A Save Thekla campaign was created after it was suggested that the beloved nightclub might face closure. This followed plans to build affordable homes and offices on land across the harbour, where it was suggested that Thekla may be the root of future noise complaints.

The minimum card spend was abolished in all UoB cafes and bars

Gone are the days where you have to spend £5 in university bars when you only wanted was one drink – or so you tell yourself at the beginning of the night.

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Bristol students unveiled a naked calendar charity

Bristol societies beared their flesh in the latest philanthropic offering from Bristol Raising and Giving. Organiser Jon Pont told The Tab: ""I've seen way too much junk for a straight guy, but I'd definitely do it again!"

University Wardens and Senior Residents were set to be axed in the biggest shake up of halls in Bristol University's history

These leading pastoral figures are expected to either be replaced or removed for the new 2018/19 academic year. Instead, pastoral care will be given through ‘hubs’ in Stoke Bishop, Clifton and City Centre. This is a seismic change in Bristol’s halls of residence, and has resulted in student petitions opposing the change.

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Bristruths was launched by Wills Memeorial Building

Popular online Facebook page Bristruths was launched by the admins of Wills Memeorial, swiftly attracting an admiring fan base of more than 80000 staff and students.

The Fry Building burnt down

In scenes reminiscent of the Colston Street fire two and a half years earlier, the Grade II listed Fry building burnt down months before it was due to be reopened after a multi million pound revamp.

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Students clash with management on new halls model

Campaign group 'Keep Our Communities' was set up to oppose the new hubs based model for university pastoral care in halls. A march was held, alumni considered revoking donations and a referendum saw students voting by nine to one to mandate the SU to oppose the changes.

The biggest academic staff strikes in Bristol's history began

Following a breakdown in talks between the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) and Universities UK (UUK) more than 90% of Bristol's academic staffs walked out for four weeks.

The Editors of The Tab and Epigram go on a date

To mark the occasion of Valentine's Day, the Editor of The Tab takes his opposite number to Amoeba in Clifton for drinks. Unfortunately she thereafter proceeded to be violently sick and had to be carried home.

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Bristol students celebrated the snow amid university closure

Hundreds of Bristol students celebrated the sudden avalanche of snow which caused the cancellation of lectures and seminars.

Students occupied the top floor of Senate House over the lecturer strikes

Members of the 'Student- staff Solidarity Group' occupied part of Senate House for three days in protest at the management's attitude towards its academic staff and their pension fund.

The SU elections were fought and won

After three days of frantic canvassing and campaigning, the new six strong sabbatical officers were announced on election night alongside course reps and chairs of student networks.

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Bristol students went on the annual ski trip abroad

Half of Stoke Bishop appeared to decamp to France for the annual UBSC bash which saw one student jump out of a second floor window to avoid a noise fine and end up breaking his leg.

A Bristol third year was slammed for hosting an ‘Indian glamour’ themed 21st birthday party

National media outlets picked up the row over a 21st birthday party that was variously criticised for having a 'colonialist' theme and for 'blatant disrespect' to BME students.

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Wills Warden goes clubbing with his student after final formal

Professor Robert Vilain chose to mark his final formal as Warden of Wills Hall by braving the sweaty meat market that is Gravity nightclub. Asked for comment, Vilain said "My first ever club experience wasn't as scary as I'd imagined".

Mental health dominates the agenda following string of student deaths

With new figures showing that counselling waiting times were going up, staff and students criticising the university in the press and a number of tragic incidences, May was dominated by the issue of mental health.

Five hundred students marched on Senate House to demand better mental health care

Held in the aftermath of three student deaths in the space of a fortnight, the 'March for Mental Health' remembered those students who had died and called for 'real change' from UoB management.

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The final Student Council meeting of the year was held

Following controversial scenes at Annual Members' Meeting in March, the last Student Council meeting of 2017-18 was a more muted affair as the amended trans motion finally passed whilst a new Wellbeing Officer was blocked and the University was criticised for its record on replying to FOI requests.

A Bristol cleaner gained international media attention after students raised £1,500 for him to go on holiday

Popular Bristol cleaner Herman Gordon was filmed receiving £1500 for both him and his wife to go to Jamaica this summer, following a successful crowdfunding campaign by Bristol students and Bristruths.