Changes made to The Nick Rayns LCR in the past week have caused problems for students at the University of East Anglia, who have turned to social networking sites to complain.
Following the burger van being banned from UEA campus, the Union of UEA Students have made further changes to the LCR.
On Saturday 12 October, students attending the LCR’s A-List club night discovered that the smoking area had been moved from the steps outside the Union Bar to a smaller enclosed area between the Hive and the library, which provides little shelter from the rain. Students complained that it was far too small compared to the previous location.
Ticket re-entry rules have also been changed by the Union. Formerly, students were given new tickets when they left the venue to smoke, which could be used to gain re-entry at any time they wanted, but this freedom is no longer possible.
Students also experienced queues of over an hour in the cold and rain for entry to A-List. Students were not dressed appropriately for cold weather, as they were not expecting the queue to be as long as it was. The reason for the queue is unconfirmed, and one UEA student pointed out: “Because the queue was so big, we thought the LCR would be full. But when we were finally allowed entry it was half empty”.
The Union of UEA Students have responded to the complaints, explaining the reasons for these changes in a recent blog post.
The Union have stated that the reason for the smoking area being moved is due to students being assaulted in the square by people not attending LCR events, and that this could have been avoided by an enclosed smoking area. It will also lower the amount of litter left in the square after LCR club nights. The Union said that as part of their ‘safety review’: “we no longer need to use a stamping or pass-out system in order for students to go outside to smoke and is aimed at making our evening events more secure and safe for those who attend them.”
The Union said the issue with student safety after LCR club nights was why the burger van was removed, secondary to funding. They also said: “Through a refurbishment of The Shop we have an opportunity to improve the late night food offering to students who attend our evening events. The money we make from this new service will be put back into the Union to deliver other student services such as clubs and societies.”
The Union is taking into account the opinions UEA students have on the changes they have made, and may be re-evaluating their decisions.
Joe Levell, Finance Officer for the Union of UEA Students, said: “There have been some changes which have been designed with the best intentions but, in my view, the Union’s delivery of some of them has been poor. We recognise the concerns regarding consultation and implementation. Overall, the situation needs to improve and we are already taking steps to make this better.”
To combat the problem with queues, the Union will be implementing a fast track entry system for students who have bought their LCR ticket in advance.