Girls Night In Sheffield: Student union's ROAR Wednesday cancelled due to drink spikings protest

A weekly Sheffield student union club night has been cancelled in solidarity with the Girls Night In protest movement against drinks being spiked.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 11:46 pm

The University of Sheffield’s weekly ROAR event at the campus’ Foundry venue has been called off.

Instead, the student union will host a consultation event for students about safety during nights out.

The union has announced the event in support of the Girls Night In, a national boycott of nightclubs this Wednesday, October 28, in protest at a reported increase of drink spikings and injection spikings.

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Sheffield students are boycotting city nightclubs on Wednesday, October 27 as part of the Girls Night In protest over drink spiking and injecting

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It comes as more than 1,700 people have signed a petition launched by one of the university’s sports clubs calling for the union’s weekly night to clamp down on the drink spiking threat.

The call to action, titled ‘Make Roar Safe Again’, alleges that the club night has seen as many as 10 spiking incidents and sexual assaults in the past two weeks.

It is demanding that door staff are retrained to take action during a suspected spiking and that stricter security measures are brought in.

ROAR Wednesday, a weekly student night at the University of Sheffield's Foundry venue, has been cancelled this week and replaced with a consultation about safety on nights out

In response to the petition, a spokesperson for the student union said: “Our officer team is standing in solidarity with the Sheffield Night In campaign… We are troubled that it has reached a point where we can’t feel safe on a night out in our city.

"In ROAR’s place, we will be hosting a student consultation event ‘Safety during nights out - in conversation with SU Staff’ from 5.30pm - 6.30pm in the Foundry - inviting you to talk about the changes you would still like to see.”

The union says it has also taken steps to increase security, including free spikeys and drink covers, increased drinks testing and more searches upon entry.

The ‘Make Roar Safe Again’ petition, which was launched by the Sabrecats Cheerleading club, reads: “Over the past couple of weeks there has been a dramatic increase in the number of spikings and sexual assaults happening in Sheffield SU club nights, especially ROAR.

"In the last two weeks, there have been a suspected five spikings happening to cheerleaders alone, and a further five to freshers at ROAR. There will also be many more we are not aware of, or which have not been reported.”

The petition calls for a list of 10 measures to be introduced, including extra bag checks and for bouncers to intervene if they see a visibly too-drunk person leaving the union with someone so they can question what their relationship is.

The petition reads: “Whilst we are aware that the SU is trying to remedy the issue of spikings/sexual assaults, and applaud/thank them for their efforts, we feel that they are potentially bypassing these easily installed safety measures.

"It is time to reclaim our ROAR night outs and make it safe for everyone to enjoy.”

What is the ‘Girls Night In’ movement?

'Girls Night In' groups have been formed across the country amid a surge in reported incidents of drinks being spiked and even people being ‘injected’ on nights out by others wanting to take advantage.

Dozens of student groups across Sheffield’s universities will be taking part in the protest, letting businesses know that they need to do more to ensure that everyone can enjoy their nights out safely.