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Stop the Music Asks Students to Sign Open Letter Amidst Spiking Concerns

Serial drink spiking incidents reported at Dover Castle Bar

King’s student anti-spiking campaign group Stop the Music has been working over the past year on implementing a new policy at KCLSU bars and venues in relation to spiking incidents. In their latest development, they are calling for students to sign an open letter to the Student Union.

Last year, concerns about the number of drink and needle spikings being reported by university students made nation-wide headlines, capturing the media’s and government’s attention for months. Responses to what has been termed the ‘spiking epidemic’ poured in from universities, student organisations, the Department of Education, and activist groups. There have been nation-wide bar boycotts, various research initiatives to investigate the rise in spiking, and the formation of government working groups. King’s College London has had a number of reported spikings itself, many of them at its student venues including Guy’s Bar and the Dover Castle.

In light of these happenings, Stop the Music was founded by a group of King’s students in order to address student’s safety concerns at the King’s venues. More background on how the campaign was founded can be found in Roar’s interview with Sude Inan from September 2022. The group created a well-informed outline of their policy recommendations for the union to adopt. One of their main goals has been to drastically change how venues themselves react to spikings when they are first reported. Their first recommendation outlined in their Campaign Policy Programme is: “Upon identification of a suspected case of spiking, stop the music, turn on the lights, and inform all individuals within the venue that someone has likely been spiked.

The rationale behind this appraoch is that “this respects the right of attendees to know whether they are in particular danger of being spiked and opens an avenue for the nightclub to investigate and deploy countermeasures before resuming the event. It is also intentionally transformational; nightclubs will have a heavy incentive to develop and enact other measures, as one case of spiking is now a threat to the nightclub’s reputation and the running of its services.”

The Policy Programme outlines further measures, such as: “Employment of appropriately certified and trained first aid professionals at KCLSU nightclub events” and: “Establishment of safe zones at KCLSU nightclub events.” The campaign has also released a more in-depth Policy Document which provides a comprehensive overview of their background and objectives.

The campaign has been working for over eight months to open discourse with KCLSU on adopting their recommendations. According to two of the founders of Stop the Music, Sude Inan and Luke Matthews, the group has had offers from the King’s Unit of St. John Ambulences to provide volunteers at student events, as well as over 220 endorsments from student societies in support of their policy goals. But, Inan and Matthews told Roar that talks have been frustratingly slow, and KCLSU has not been as responsive to student concerns over spiking as they had hoped they would be.

In their latest development, Stop the Music in collaboration with KCL Amnesty International are circulating an open letter for students to sign in support of adapting stronger anti-spiking measures at student venues. Roar has previously published an open letter from October 2021 asking the KCLSU to implement new measures. However, the campaign does not believe that these concerns were adequately addressed. They are asking students who wish to support their efforts to endorse their new letter, which Roar will publish in full in the coming weeks.

Students can sign the letter here

More information about Stop the Music can be found on their instagram, @stopthemusiccampaign

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