News Article

A message from your officers on student safety

RUSU believes that every student has the right to feel safe on a night out. Your safety and wellbeing are a priority, and we will continue to work hard to make sure RUSU and 3sixty are safe spaces for you to enjoy.

We have recently been made aware of the Girls Night In Reading Uni social media campaign which asks for clubs and bars to increase their entry security, provide free drink protection devices and to provide a clear and obvious medical centre and a safe way to get home.

We support the aims of the campaign and are proud of our students for boycotting any venue they don’t feel safe in. We also believe that everyone should feel safe on a night out and we are undertaking a full review of our policies and procedures to ensure our venue is as safe as possible.

A message from your RUSU President, Ben Knowles

I know that this issue is a big concern for our students and we know that more needs to be done. The Girls Night in Reading Uni campaign is a really positive campaign that I am fully in support of, and we are supportive of our members boycotting any space in which they don’t feel safe. RUSU has proactively taken a number of steps to ensure safety in our venue thanks to feedback from our members. The comments we’re receiving on social media have already provided valuable insight. We want to continue this conversation.

There have been a number of events nationwide over the last 12 months which have demonstrated how we, as men, need to do a hell of a lot better. It is important that we support women and that we look out for the women we live and study with. It is our responsibility to report anything we see or hear which poses a danger to others.

Spiking is never ok and I am committed to doing all I can to ensuring our members feel safe at RUSU.

By working with Campus Security, Thames Valley Police, University of Reading and most importantly you – our members, we will make RUSU a safe space for you to enjoy.

RUSU & 3Sixty

Increasing entry security

What RUSU is already doing:

  • A Drug Detection Dog is employed on all club nights.
  • Student Card/ID Check. Only students and their guests can access club nights at the Union.
  • Bags are searched on entry.
  • RUSU operates a random search policy whereby a random sample of attendees are searched on entry.

What more we are doing in response to this campaign:

  • Significantly increasing the number of searches conducted on attendees to our events.

Providing free drink protection devices

What RUSU is already doing:

  • Provides Spikeys (an anti-spiking product fits tightly in bottles) on request.

What more we are doing in response to this campaign:

  • Spikeys will be more widely advertised across our bars and our student bar staff will be prompted to offer these to all customers.

RUSU also recommends the following products and will be looking into how we can help supply these:

Providing a safe way home and an accessible medical centre

What RUSU is already doing:

  • RUSU provides a safe Welfare and Medical room on Union nights for students who require any assistance, or are identified as vulnerable.

What more we are doing in response to this campaign:

  • The free 360 Bus was introduced in September as a safe way for students to get home to the student areas after club nights.
  • RUSU has worked with an external company to launch a student safety app called MyWay which is free to download and has lots of different features, such as location sharing, journey planning and tracking and an issue/incident reporting function.

What to do if you think you've been spiked

All reports of spiking are investigated and reported to the police. RUSU is proactively working with the University and Thames Valley Police to address the concerns raised by our members and if you think you have been spiked we would encourage you to report this to the police. Additionally, you can seek support from the University Wellbeing Service or the Students’ Unions independent Advice & Support Centre.

Drinkaware have provided some helpful information on the symptoms of drink spiking and on what you should do if you think you or somebody you know has been spiked.

The effects of drink spiking vary depending on what you’ve been spiked with. Symptoms could include:

  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Loss of balance
  • Visual problems
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness

On a night out, if you think you or somebody you know has been spiked:

  • Speak to a member of staff or request to see the duty manager
  • Stay with them and keep talking to them
  • Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates
  • Don’t let them go home on their own
  • Don’t let them leave the venue with someone you don’t know or trust
  • If possible, try and prevent them drinking more alcohol as this could lead to more serious problems

Going forward

We want you to be safe and are working hard to ensure our venue is as safe as possible. We are also calling on other venues in Reading to do the same.

Ideally we wouldn’t need to know the signs of spiking but sadly we know that spiking can happen anywhere, including a bar, club or even a house party and, whilst we implement changes in our venue, we would encourage you to be aware of the signs and what to do if you think you or someone you know has been spiked.

Your SU Officers are working with the Girls Night in Reading Uni campaign to implement these changes, and we are working with the University and Thames Valley Police. We know there is more work to do.

If you have any questions, please contact us via social media or at enquiries@rusu.co.uk