STUDENTS have been banned from taking part in a popular drinking craze – and accused their union leaders of running a “draconian nanny state”.
Anyone caught “strawpedoing” – downing high-sugar alcopops while using a straw to avoid creating a vacuum – in the Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) club on Potterrow could now face being thrown out by staff.
But angry undergraduates have condemned the move as the last straw in a long list of bans rolled out by EUSA, which has previously outlawed Robin Thicke’s hit song Blurred Lines in campus bars.
An online petition calling on EUSA to “un-ban strawpedoing” has chalked up more than 400 signatures in just four days, and on Saturday night unrest broke out in the queue to get into The Big Cheese – a popular club night run by EUSA – as a group of students allegedly tried to storm the club to strawpedo their drinks in protest at the ban.
One 22-year-old who had been caught up in the crush said: “There just came this big push, and it got to the stage where there were people trapped in the middle getting crammed in.
“It was crazy, and it was a really lucky escape that someone didn’t end up in A&E. There were people screaming and it was so out of control.”
It was crazy, and it was a really lucky escape that someone didn’t end up in A&E. There were people screaming and it was so out of control.”22-year-old witness
Chart-topping hit Blurred Lines was banned by EUSA in September 2013 after student chiefs ruled it violated their policy against “rape culture and lad banter”.
The popular track was widely criticised for its “misogynist” lyrics and video, which featured the lines “I hate these blurred lines” and “I know you want it”.
EUSA removed the Sun newspaper from all campus shops in 2012.
First-year medical student Adam Harvey, a regular at The Big Cheese, condemned the association’s latest move as “yet another EUSA-driven source of annoyance”.
The 23-year-old said: “It’s self-important pseudo-politicians – that none of us voted for anyway – desperately trying to protect students from non-existant issues. Ultimately though, as ever, it’s of no consequence – VKs were strawpedoed in Potterow and no-one cared.”
He added: “I know this might be extreme, and goes against the empowerment of the people, but sometimes I wonder if we wouldn’t all be better off if we just scrapped all the elected positions, and just got proper adults to do it.”
Tasha Boardman, EUSA’s vice-president services, said: “We have a responsibility to operate in a socially responsible manner in accordance with licensing law.
“We had been seeing an increase in strawpedoing which is not deemed as responsible consumption under licensing legislation, which we have a duty to uphold.
“We removed the straws so we could communicate to customers when requesting a straw that strawpedoing is not a practice we allow and if caught they may be removed.”
Dr Sarah Jarvis, medical adviser to alcohol education charity Drinkaware, insisted strawpedoing could put students at risk of “drinking too much, too quickly”.