Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Queen's need to tackle alcohol dependency

JOANNE Sweeney's article (News, February 6) provides a snapshot of concerns about one drinks promotion by Queen's Students' Union. However, it does not reflect their impact on local communities and the students themselves.

The students' union organised a pub crawl for 1,700 students during freshers' fortnight in September last year.

Freshers are immediately indoctrinated into a drink culture during their first month at university and 'refreshers' events are held throughout the year.

No doubt, this sort of activity benefits the night-time economy, but at what longer term cost to the health of the students, to the health service and to society?

Queen's University distances itself from these promotions, but regards income they generate as essential for funding other clubs and societies.

Conversely, the university holds the liquor and entertainment licenses and is ultimately responsible for the use, or abuse, of those licenses.

If it is not concerned about the welfare of its students, the senate should be concerned about how these activities erode the university's reputation.

Queen's regards itself as a 'world-class' university, yet the area around Queen's has the highest crime-rate of any UK university city.

If the university is serious about its reputation, it will develop a strategy to reduce its dependence on alcohol.

SOUTH BELFAST RESIDENT

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