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Justice

Our spiking motion and campaign in Aberystwyth

“These would involve measures such as bag checks, trained staff, and free covers”.

Jasneet Samrai

After the boycott last night, and also the huge amount of support for our motion to the SU Senedd, it’s clear that in Aberystwyth spiking is a major issue. We’re glad that it is an issue that is currently being talked about and we’re also glad that solutions are already starting to be put into practise. We’ve also put together our own plans, as Centre, both nationally and locally and we’re hoping that they’ll be fully implemented too.

This campaign has taught me a lot. It’s reinforced why we need to be working together to solve issues and why hearing different viewpoints is essential when it comes to producing the most effective solutions that work for everyone. Moreover, it may lead way in identifying additional issues and barriers, especially where different issues go hand in hand. This is good as it means that we are able to make progress in a coherent way and ensure that all of our solutions help to contribute to a safer and fairer society, instead of kneejerk measures which often end up solving an issue whilst also disadvantaging certain groups.

For example, this can be seen through the spiking campaign that we have just run. Originally, we wanted to put in additional measures, ones that were different to the ones in our plan currently, but they were taken out as they did not work for some of the societies and sports clubs involved. Similarly, when other members of the coalition tried to pitch ideas- some were dropped as they would have huge financial consequences for some of the other coalition members. This process, of communicating and voting, led us to a motion which is much easier to deliver and measures which are much more representative of the student body. It also means that we are able to draw on everyone’s wide range of expertise and get proposals which are well-thought through and where the people writing and scrutinising them have a lot of knowledge about both the issue at hand but also its context. This motion, and the way that we’ve all worked together, is a model that can be replicated across the country. We must work together, it’s the only way to get real and effective change.

Yet, all of the progress that we’ve achieved is still not enough. We may be helping to support survivors and prevent spiking on a local level- but there are some components of spiking that we cannot solve alone. That’s why we’re working with our national affiliates Centre Think Tank to lobby politicians and draft legislation on this issue, with us calling for better regulation on venues and ensuring that they have measures which do keep students safe. These would involve measures such as bag checks, trained staff, and free covers. With national and devolved legislation, it would give local authorities greater powers to act if venues did not follow these minimum standards. In the long-term, this would allow students to be safe no matter where in the country they happen to be.

We’ll keep you up to date with this campaign, but for now make sure to keep an eye out for our Senedd debate.

Written by Jasneet Samrai, the Deputy Director for Centre. They have worked as a campaign organiser, helping to elect 3 MEP’s and they are the Pastoral Care Officer for Centre.

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