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Factory bouncers aren’t about ensuring students’ safety, they’re just abusing their power

It’s about time they were sacked

On Saturday night, it was reported that two men had been attacked by eight bouncers outside of Factory.

Joe Sharratt, a student at the University of Lancaster and Leon Cooper, a first year Pharmacy student at the University of Manchester were brutally attacked by eight bouncers, leaving one of them hospitalised with a bleed on the brain.

The bouncers have since been sacked, Factory is in discussion over potential closure, and Leon is out of hospital following a quick recovery: But what this incident tells us is that students are not safe on nights out in Manchester, and bouncers are choosing to abuse their power over ensuring safety.

Nightlife and clubbing culture in Manchester is notoriously hedonistic. For a city with over 100,000 students (The University of Manchester has the largest student community in the UK), in such a culture of debauchery and wild nights surrounded by drink and drugs, bouncers and security at clubs have a duty of care to students.

This kind of incidental senseless violence from Factory bouncers is not isolated, either. Speaking to The Manchester Tab, Charlie Watson said: "I’ve heard a few accounts go where the bouncers at Factory have taken advantage of their power. Although they’ve never raised a hand to me one did once threaten to ‘break my legs’ if I caused any trouble after being asked in the queue if I’d ever been kicked out, which I hadn’t."

Charlie's friend also said that Charlie "wasn't being in any way aggressive but they threatened to break his legs, I also know one of my friends was kicked out and ‘banned’ for absolutely no real reason."

Speaking to the Manchester Tab, Alex said: "I went to Factory in September and towards the end of the night went out to the smoking area without realising they had introduced a new policy where you have to buy a wristband to go out and smoke. The bouncers then wouldn't let me and my two friends back into the night club, and when we tried to explain the situation they became aggressive and pushed me to the ground multiple times.

"This lead to all the side of my leg and torso becoming severely bruised and losing my phone, as it must have fallen out of my pocket when they pushed me to the ground. When my friend ran over to try and get the bouncers off me they punched him in the face, giving him a black eye."

One Google Review of Factory revealed that bouncer aggression at Factory is nothing new, either. Written nine months ago, Mohammed Salah said: "Staff especially the bouncers are just angry and generally hateful, I'd suggest psych eval for everyone working there cuze they got a lot of anger in them". Just one week ago, three days before Leon and Joe were attacked, another Google reviewer said the bouncers were "Aggressive and sexist".

Eight bouncers attacking two young students on a night out shows us that nightclub staff at Factory are not concerned with our security and safety. Instead, it presents itself as an example of the kind of toxic masculine aggression and power complexes alive in club culture today.

When students go on nights out in Manchester, they shouldn't have to feel concerned or worried about their own safety, or think that there's even a possibility that they might wake up in the hospital.

We need comprehensive training to ensure that bouncers are firstly concerned with student safety, and use violence as a last resort. If Factory reopens, they will need these measures in place to keep our students safe, and bouncers trained in that conduct. But who will trust them anymore?

Factory have been contacted for comment.

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