SUSU’s Union Council today passed a policy proposal which will see the Portswood Safety Bus service cut, as VP Welfare Beckie Thomas calls for students to “take responsibility for their own wellbeing and safety on a night out”.
Despite a significant amount of public criticism for the proposal among students, a Union Councillor told the Soton Tab there was “No debate really, [and the policy] just went through”.
The ‘Student Safety Policy’, which includes provisions to secure the Highfield Safety Bus, and “maintain a safe taxi scheme with a local taxi service”, was passed in this morning’s Union Council meeting.
The policy suggests “trained support personnel” should be used in place of the Portswood Safety Bus, due to “irresponsible” nightclubs serving excessive amounts of alcohol to students then leaving them in the care of the Safety Bus.
However, nightclub owners have responded negatively to the proposal, suggesting the policy has failed to consider that “students predrink full stop”, and the change will “only encourage more students to drink unsupervised”.
At the original debate of the policy at the Union Council meeting on 19th March, Beckie Thomas suggested that allowing the Safety Bus to continue would “prop up the activities of the clubs, and she would rather we work on changing behaviour”, suggesting a belief that replacing the service with “support personnel” would curb excessive and dangerous alcohol consumption.
It was also argued that the £7000 annual running cost was not justifiable for the supposed “54 students” who use the service.
Despite this, the Union Council today also passed a capital plan allowing SUSU to spend £32,500 on a new “social break-out space”, described in the minutes as “modern, accessible and inspirational”.
Safety Bus driver Will Pearson also questioned whether “its removal is in the interests of the welfare of students”, citing his experience of the service as a “last resort for students who are otherwise unable to get home safely”, and criticising the suggestion that clubs “consider the Safety Bus when making decisions about who to allow to enter the clubs”.
Do you agree with SUSU’s plan to cut the Portswood Safety Bus? Let us know in the comments.