Statement: Xmas on Toast

At last night’s Xmas on Toast, a larger than expected turnout of approximately 1300 students – against an average across the year of 800 per event – led to a number of issues on the ingress to the venue with a significant number of customers denied entry. At 23:15 Medicine reached its capacity and entry to the venue moved to one in/one out. This slow down on entry to the venue resulted in significant surges in the queue on the hill leading down to Medicine.

With approximately 500 individuals in the queue and understanding a potentially unsafe situation was developing, the management team made the decision to ‘break’ the queue – removing PED barriers to allow the queue to spread evenly across the road – while subsequently stopping all entry into the venue and attempting to disperse the crowd.

We understand that a number of students were disappointed that they could not access the venue despite being in possession of a free ticket to the event, but the safety of our members must come first and the situation that was developing meant the team had to take urgent action to prevent harm from occurring.

Why was the event ticketed?

As part of a trial to improve the customer experience when purchasing a ticket from the Students’ Union and speed of entry into our venues, we asked those wishing to attend Monday’s event to ‘purchase’ a free ticket.

Communications about this were included in last Friday’s all student email and on the website, but we understand that these could have been clearer – especially around the requirement of having a ticket and if it would guarantee you entry to the venue.

There is no immediate plan for the e-ticketing system to be introduced into our regular event nights and we will be reflecting on last night before making a decision on the future of the system.

Moving forward

The Union will be reviewing a number of issues from the situation that occurred last night including how we communicate any changes to event procedures, how we manage queues into Medicine and any changes that can be made to this, and if the last Toast of term should be relocated to the Union Venue to meet the demand within the membership.

Alongside this, we would also like to announce that we will be conducting a high level review of our security operation following feedback from students and staff across term one. This review will be led by two senior managers that have no day-to-day interaction with the security team, ensuring that they can impartially reflect on the current operation and recommend changes that will positively impact on our membership.