Newcastle Uni law society issues warning to members after they ‘waved money’ and ‘clicked fingers’ at staff during boozy Xmas bash

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By Thomas Connelly on

Vomiting at the bar, according to email

Newcastle’s Pitcher & Piano

The members of Newcastle University’s law society have been given a dressing-down from their president after they allegedly clicked their fingers and waved money at staff during their annual Christmas bash.

Eldon society’s president, Tara-Alexandra Burrows, emailed members earlier this month to express her disappointment at the behaviour of a “small group” of individuals who acted “inappropriately and recklessly” at Newcastle’s Pitcher & Piano bar.

The email (in full below), seen by Legal Cheek, claimed party-goers were “mocking staff for where they studied, threatening to sue them and waving money and clicking at them.” It continued:

“Whether these were meant to be a joke/harmless, they came across as malicious. Please treat others how you would like to be treated and be mindful that what you say can be interpreted as abusive. The staff members were there to serve you — not tolerate abuse.”

While accepting that drinking excessively can and does occasionally happen, Burrows said reports of “vomiting” at the bar, which staff were left to clean up, was “unacceptable” and urged members to drink responsibly at future events.

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The bar was exclusively open to Newcastle University students, both members and non-members of the society, The Tab reports.

In a statement to Legal Cheek, Burrows said she was disappointed to hear about the behaviour of a small group of attendees and was taking steps to reassure the venue that the matter was being taken seriously. She continued:

“I have also discussed this with NUSU [Newcastle University Students’ Union] and I hope to be able to resolve it without consequences to the society as we have worked very hard this year to make it the best society yet… I really am hopeful that the disgusting behaviour of a minority won’t take away from the hard work we have put in thus far.”

Newcastle University and Pitcher & Piano have been approached for comment.

UPDATE: 20/12/18 (9:23am)

Newcastle University has now issued the following comment to Legal Cheek:

“This type of behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We are pleased that the President of the Eldon Society took action quickly to warn members of the potential consequences, and we are working with the Society and the Students’ Union to look at what measures can be put in place to address this behaviour.”

Read the email in full below:

Dear all,

It has come to my attention that on the evening of our Christmas Party, there was a small group of members who acted inappropriately and recklessly. Having spoken to Pitcher and Piano, I am aware of the events that occurred. I will address these in turn. Whilst this applies to a minority of members, all members must be aware that this kind of behaviour is entirely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Abuse of Staff

I am absolutely horrified to hear some of the derogatory comments made to the staff during the event. These include mocking staff for where they studied, threatening to sue them and waving money and clicking at them. Whether these were meant to be a joke / harmless, they came across as malicious. Please treat others how you would like to be treated and be mindful that what you say can be interpreted as abusive. The staff members were there to serve you – not tolerate abuse. If the Committee or I hear any comments like these again, you will be banned from all future Eldon events.

Responsible Drinking

As a student myself, I am aware that drinking excessively can and does occasionally happen. However, you should be aware of your limit and of the importance of drinking responsibly. It was brought to my attention that vomiting occurred at the bar and it was ultimately the staff at Pitcher and Piano who were left to clean this up. I am sure you would agree that this is unacceptable.

Moreover, I must remind you of the dangers of drinking excessively. I am sure that many of you have heard of the tragic death of a Newcastle student and I hope this will emphasise how important it is to drink responsibly. If this happens again to this degree, I will not be authorising the same amount of free alcohol given to our members for future events.

Attempts to Steal

This will not be tolerated. Any member found to do this will be made to leave, banned from future events and could be liable to criminal prosecution.

Smashing Glasses

This was one of the main concerns highlighted from the staff at Pitcher and Piano and rightfully so. Smashing glasses not only is a massive health and safety risk to all in the venue, but also a risk to the general public. There were customers underneath the mezzanine which means there was a real risk that you could have seriously injured them. Not only is it incredibly disrespectful, I hope you all appreciate that this could have led to disastrous consequences, and potentially criminal prosecution.

I am currently in discussion with Pitcher and Piano who are being very co-operative. However, they are entitled to take further action. I cannot emphasise enough the consequences to us as a Society if that occurs, now or in the future. NUSU can ban future events or the Society as a whole — meaning no more Eldon initiatives like the welfare free fruit and tea, or socials like the networking cocktail nights or Law Ball. I urge you to consider this and remind yourselves that you are representatives of the society and university more generally.

I am sorry that I have had to send this email right before the holidays, especially as it was a minority of members behaving in this manner.

I wish you a very merry Christmas and I look forward to seeing you all in the new year.

Tara-Alexandra Burrows

Eldon Society President 2018/19

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