“The LCR is part of our Union. Club nights should be exclusively ours too”, argues Billy Sexton, in favour of a student-only LCR. 

Following recent late night incidents on campus, the debate surrounding whether or not the LCR club nights should be student only events has surfaced yet again.

Currently, any member of the public over the age of 18 is welcome to spend an evening of merriment in the LCR – but given the recent incidents, is it time that this policy changed?

LCR Photo via the Union of UEA Students.

The social side of university life is arguably the most enjoyable aspect of being a student. We’re lucky enough to have a popular club on campus that allows flatmates, course mates, and clubs and societies to spend Tuesday and Saturday nights in the company of one another. With the LCR regularly selling out, the tickets that members of the public purchase is essentially denying students of an enjoyable evening alongside their peers.

Of course, denying the public entry to a student club night opens up an array of further issues. Firstly, not only will security have to check standard ID, they will also have to scrutinise the validity of campus cards too.

However, some students have asserted that security regularly “nod students in” without checking ID. I’ve never had to wait longer than five minutes in a queue outside the LCR, which contrasts to nightclubs in Norwich city centre, where queues often stretch along Prince of Wales Road as security rigorously check identification.

With students prepared to queue up to, and sometimes over, half an hour to enter clubs such as Tau, surely they shouldn’t mind queuing at the LCR whilst security check ID and campus cards?

Secondly, many students are so besotted with the delights of the Lower Common Room that they wish to share this with visiting friends who don’t attend UEA. If the LCR becomes student only, students are prevented from giving their friends a night they will never forget.

This is easily resolved. The Ents department of the students’ union could ask students to fill out a form should they wish to bring a friend not from UEA to the LCR. This form would then be presented upon entry to security.

These two simple measures would allow for a more enjoyable and safer experience for students. There have been calls for greater security and safety across campus given incidents recently. Given that the LCR is part of our Union, shouldn’t its club nights be exclusively ours too?

In response, Polly Grice says: “It would be a real travesty if everyone had to miss out because of the unacceptable behaviour of a few people.”

A recent violent incident in the LCR has prompted some students to call for stricter measures for non-students. Some feel that non-students should not be allowed in the LCR at all. Not only will this discriminate against the friends and family members of students who wish to enjoy a night out in Norwich, but it won’t solve the security problem either.

Derby Day LCR - Ga Chun YauDerby Day LCR. Photo: Ga Chun Yau.

While it is unfortunate that there have been attacks on students by people who don’t go to UEA, anyone who says students aren’t capable of being violent is just plain wrong.

Unfortunately, alcohol can fuel violence and after a few drinks mixed with short tempers, a mild dispute can turn into the kind of punch-up we’ve heard about recently. Not being a student doesn’t make you any more or less likely to get into a fight.

What will banning non-students actually do? For one thing it will mean that recent graduates, local friends of students or family members won’t be allowed in, despite having done nothing wrong.

It would be a real travesty if everyone had to miss out because of the unacceptable behaviour of a few people. More importantly though, it will scapegoat non-students and permit claims that the problem has been solved, without it actually being addressed.

There is undoubtedly an issue surrounding security in the LCR, and it’s one which we really need to pay attention to, particularly on nights where there’s a huge crowd, such as the recent Derby Day or St. Patrick’s Day. The problem here isn’t that we let non-students into the LCR – anyone is capable of throwing a punch.

Whether the issue is the number of security staff, their presence around the club, or the powers that they have is for somebody else to discuss. Don’t make a snap decision that non-students should be banned from the LCR just because you saw a post on Facebook.

Let’s use this incident to seriously address the issue of making sure that everybody who goes to the LCR can have a safe night out, and not just take the easy route of scapegoating those who don’t go to UEA.

  •  Where do you stand – should the LCR only be for UEA students?