News | Otley Run under ban threat

Student pub crawls like the Otley Run could be banned by a Home Office-backed NUS scheme.

The NUS Alcohol Impact scheme is currently in a trial period and will run for 12 months at 7 UK Universities. The Home Office has shown it’s support by providing £90,000 to back the scheme.

Under the program, Universities will be accredited based on a list of criteria including limiting the sale and promotion of alcohol, ensuring campus bars sell low-priced non-alcoholic drinks and taking action to prevent pub crawls, social media drinking games and alcohol-based initiations.

Universities will also be asked to organize and promote at least one “non-alcoholic, mainstream social event” every six months.

Crime prevention minister Norman Baker said: “Binge drinking at universities is nothing new, but that doesn’t mean it is a good idea.”

He added: “Some students find themselves encouraged to participate in alcohol fueled activities which can damage health and in some cases spill over into disorder and anti-social behavior.”

Mr. Baker also noted an added incentive Universities may have to join the scheme: “Accreditation should become a badge of honor for universities and another factor which helps promote their world-class teaching and research to prospective domestic and international students.”

Loughborough, Nottingham, Swansea, Brighton. Manchester Metropolitan, Liverpool John Moores and Royal Holloway have all joined the year-long pilot scheme.

The call for a greater focus on student drinking comes after student drinking has been shown to be in decline by the NHS and Office of National Statistics.

A ‘Save the Leeds Otley Run’ Facebook page has attracted over 800 likes at the time of writing.

Sean Hayes

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