Leeds Uni Union cancels Summer Ball due to ‘safety concerns’ around pro-Palestine encampment

The Ball will instead be replaced with a free ‘Summer Party’ for ticket holders

Leeds University Union Summer Ball has been cancelled due to “safety concerns” posed by the pro-Palestine encampment on campus.

Due to take place this weekend, student ticket holders were informed today in an email from the Students’ Union that the Ball will not go ahead.

The Ball is instead to be replaced with a free “Summer Party” for ticket holders as protestors continue to occupy the green by Beech Grove House.

In an email sent to the thousands of students who bought tickets for the sold out event, the union explained how it had explored options to allow the Ball to go ahead without compromising the peaceful student process. It read: “We explored many options to make the Ball happen whilst respecting the right of the encampment to take part in peaceful protest, but came to the conclusion the Ball would need to be cancelled.

“Leeds Ball usually takes over the campus, with big and complex installations such as fairground rides and stages. It’s crucial that we can set these up safely in order to deliver the experience we promised our ticket holders in a way that’s safe and secure.”

Made up of a collective of organisations, Leeds Students Against Apartheid Coalition established its encampment on May 1st.

This came after a number of demonstrations held on campus, including an occupation of the Parkinson building last term. Students also took part in a sit-in at Leeds Train Station which occurred last week in support of Palestine.

The Summer Ball is recognised by Leeds students as an opportunity to enjoy the end of summer exams and let their hair down with fairground rides, live music, a silent disco, neon crazy golf and street food. The party, at a cost of £25 each, was originally scheduled to be a nine hour rave on campus from 6pm to 3am, and would have featured a Ferris wheel, dodgems, roller disco, four themed club rooms and karaoke.

A scaled-back “Summer Party” in the LUU building on Sarurday will now replace the Ball, but will start at a later time of 9pm. It will still host crazy golf and a live drag act. Ticket holders will be offered free entry to the new event, but these must be claimed online.

The union has also confirmed students who purchased tickets to the Ball will be automatically refunded via their original payment method.

In a statement issued just last week, Leeds Students Against Apartheid Coalition claimed it was working with university bosses to ensure the Ball could go ahead as planned.

Similarly, Leeds Students for Palestine also reassured students an earlier statement released last month that it did “not wish” for the Ball to be cancelled, and was working with the university to come to an agreement to allow the party to go ahead, detailing their plans to vacate the site once their demands had been met.

A University of Leeds spokesperson added: “We share Leeds University Union’s disappointment that their annual Leeds Ball can’t go ahead as originally planned.”

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Featured image via Google Maps