John’s Pay To Babysit Boozers
St John’s College plan to pay students to look after drunken peers during May week. Money to fund the scheme could come from fines to drunk students.
St John’s plan to pay students to ‘babysit’ over-the-top boozers during May Week.
The Tab has learnt that St John’s College could offer students up to £100 to look after peers deemed ‘too drunk’ when they return to college after a night out. Students who require care could also face fines to help fund the scheme.
Those who sign up for the scheme will be given a training session by the college nurse and will then be ‘on call’ for certain nights during May Bumps and May Week.
If the students, dubbed ‘student carers’, are called by Porters to look after someone they will be offered a set amount of money, and can take as little or as much of it as they like. The exact amount has yet to be decided, but is rumoured to be up to £100.
The money to fund the scheme could come from fines to those who need care. In a statement the College said: “A student who was drunk to the point of incapacity would be dealt with under the College’s disciplinary procedure in the usual way. One option might be to levy a fine on him or her to cover the cost of care.”
The scheme, which was announced last week, has so far been popular among students. The College said: “The scheme has been over-subscribed with volunteers offering to be on call as carers.”
Bex Xiao, a 2nd year Medic who has signed up to the scheme, told The Tab: “I think it’s a good idea. After exams people will inevitably go over the top.”
Last year one John’s student suffered serious burns after passing out drunk on a radiator. The 2nd year engineer, who wishes to remain anonymous, told The Tab: “When I was passed out one student apparently ignored me. If it’s implemented well I think the new scheme is a good idea.”
With John’s celebrating its Quincentenary anniversary and holding their biggest May Ball ever, this year could see even more drunken accidents.
But JCR President Waheed Chaudhrey was keen to stress that the scheme didn’t mean John’s had a problem with drinking. He told The Tab: “This is a national epidemic. John’s and the authorities here are concerned about the welfare of our students, and we feel that the standard of the welfare of our students can be improved.”
Initiations: A Messy Business
John’s 2nd year Ysemay Hackett Evans, who has also signed up for the scheme, agreed saying: “Most unis are a lot worse than us. Having a college system means it’s much more noticeable. If you live in a house no one’s going to see you stumble in.”
Other colleges have been less taken with the scheme. Queens’ JCR President Amanda Hadkiss told The Tab: “The scheme only encourages an attitude of irresponsibility, in that students can drink too much with the knowledge that someone else will step in and deal with the consequences.”
Murray Edwards JCR runs a similar voluntary scheme all year round, with JCR members on call to help students who need it. Muz JCR President Katie Kibbler criticised John’s decision to fine its students:
“Hitting the student in question with a massive fine seems to be missing the point,” Kibbler told The Tab. “It’s about keeping people safe, rather than condemning them.
“Obviously coming home in that kind of a state is not ideal and I understand that the fines are a way of discouraging drinking to such excess, but I still don’t think it’s the right way to approach the problem.”
John’s JCR originally came up with the scheme two years ago, but it was eventually abandoned. Tom Harrison, Secretary of last year’s JCR, told The Tab: “The JCR considered it but in the end we said it was unfeasible.”
The scheme was resurrected this year and the College have been consulting the JCR since lent term on how to run the scheme.
If the scheme goes well, the College will consider adopting it all year round.