‘Vandalism, theft and drug taking’: Inside the Medic ball that descended into chaos

‘I thought everyone seemed absolutely wired’

The Galenicals’ (medic society) Spring Ball descended into chaos earlier this month as students stole a statue, smashed tables and took cocaine in the bathrooms.

The owners of the 303-year-old Grade I listed Kings Weston House said they were “dismayed” at the actions of the future doctors after they were forced to threaten the students with police action if they didn’t return stolen items.

Multiple attendees admitted seeing students taking cocaine in the bathroom whilst another described the guests as seeming “absolutely wired”.

In an email to all Bristol University medical students, the Programme Directors and Senior Tutors firmly stated the event would leave a lasting impact on all medical students from the university and urged those who have committed crimes to come forward.

A Bristol University spokesperson described the behaviour as “unacceptable” and “incredibly disappointing” but said the majority of attendees behaved “impeccably”.

The stolen item in question was a rare bronze sculpture of two cherubs. Despite the ball taking place a fortnight ago and multiple emails urging students to return it, the statue has been determined destroyed after only one fragment was returned to the owners.

John Barbey, part-owner and Director of Kings Weston House said: “We were most dismayed, it was the first time we had had vandalism and theft after almost a year of events and the last thing we had expected.”

The bronze statue was stolen straight off the fireplace mantel

“At one point, people were dancing on the Italian sideboard in the Ballroom. Especially towards the end there was widespread drunkenness with many guests rude to the staff and crashing into them carrying trays.”

Alongside the stolen statue, three antique mahogany tables were smashed and the door of a Regency sideboard was forced open.

Bristol University has been forced to pay the owners for refurbishment and repairs. The most expensive repair is said to be a three-legged mahogany table where one of the legs snapped clean off and the piece is still missing.

However, in an email to all medical students, the Programme Directors and Senior Tutors said the university are using tuition fees to repay the costs.

They said: “We are having to use your fees to do this. Some of this will also have to be recouped from Galenicals.”

Away from the ballroom, the owners found remains of cocaine in the bathrooms. They also said the hand dryers had been ripped off the walls and the glass soap dispensers smashed.

The night was billed by organisers as “a good time all round” with live music and fairground rides.

One member of a band booked to perform at the event told The Bristol Tab: “I thought everyone seemed absolutely wired”.

Another student said they felt the event was out of control before it had even begun.

“I arrived about an hour after the event was scheduled to start and straight away wasn’t allowed into the venue because according to security guards, Galenicals had sold hundreds of tickets over capacity,” the student told The Bristol Tab. “I spent about an hour and a half in the rain waiting to get inside into the event alongside about 50 other medics, one of whom had fallen over in the shove to get inside.

“She was bleeding and crying, the security guards refused her entry.”

The organisers set the capacity at 520 guests

They went on to say they felt the security guards lost control of the night as they screamed at the guests and blamed them for the event running so poorly.

“I think that was what probably set off the chaotic vibe that ensued,” the student said.

In their email to medical students, the Programme Directors and Senior Tutors confirmed there was “evidence of vandalism, theft and drug taking”.

They reminded the students that they are held to the standards of the General Medical Council and evidence of criminal behaviour caught on CCTV can lead to police involvement.

They said: “This can have consequences for your future.

“We don’t say this to frighten you needlessly, but rather because we need you all to be aware of the consequences – as individuals – of your actions.”

An investigation has been opened by the faculty to review what happened at Kings Weston House, with the medic society banned from having events there in the future.

A University of Bristol spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of unacceptable behaviour which occurred at the medical student ball earlier this month.

“This is obviously incredibly disappointing but it must be stressed that the majority of attendees behaved impeccably and their reputation should not be tarnished by the actions of a few. We are investigating and considering what appropriate action needs to be taken.”

Galenicals and Bristol SU have been approached for comment.

If you have any more details about the Medic ball, or another story you think we should be reporting on, DM us @thebristoltab. All sources can be kept anonymous.

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