UEA(SU) and Activities and Opportunities Officer, Lizzie Payne, have released a joint statement following the incidents which took place at Sportsnight last week (6th October) and the subsequent reforms to the club night.
In the statement, the SU apologised for the disorganisation, citing unexpected attendance numbers and security concerns as the reason for the cancellation of the night. Following this the statement announced a series of changes to Sports Night. Payne wrote that Sportsnight would be moved “into the LCR, where [UEA SU] can hold the event at a higher capacity”.
Additionally, the event will now be ticketed, and while these are initially set to be free, the statement pointed out that “the LCR costs around £5000 to open, so going forward we may need to resort to a small charge to cover our costs”. It is unclear how much will be charged for those wishing to attend the events, but the statement clarifies that only UEA Sport members can access tickets and that these will be capped to one per person. Alcohol Impact will also attend future events, and security will now be able to breathalyse people if they suspect they are too intoxicated to go into the LCR.
Anticipation for the return of UEA’s free club night for sports members, combined with a screen shot circulating stating a capacity of 350 in Blue Bar, caused chaos. Sports clubs had arrived on campus as early as 8pm in order to ensure attendance, but were met with no security presence or queuing system. By around 9pm a “queue” had begun to form at the main doors to BarSU, yet due to the lack of barriers this spanned at least five people deep and continued around the corner onto The Street. In order to reduce the width of the queue, once security arrived they placed two barriers alongside to stop it extending and instead opened the side entrance to BarSU, causing a swarm to form around these doors. The crowd proceeded to make their way through the main doors, despite no security present at the entrance. The dividing doors between Red Bar and Blue Bar were in place causing a build up of around 150 people, with many others trying to enter from the side doors at the same time. The situation inside became dangerous and with very limited movement space, a crush began as more and more people began arriving.
The doors were expected to open at 10pm, however when it became apparent that they weren’t, the crowd inside began to ease, with many using alternate routes such as the toilets to get around or out of the building. At around 10.30pm it was circulated that the night had been cancelled and the crowd dispersed with many opting to remain in the Square.