DEBATE: Should Students Staff The Doors at YUSU Nights?

BJL: It’s fair to say that there’s a significant amount of animosity between students and bouncers. Nights out being ruined by being chucked out, often for cases of mistaken identity. Picture the scene in the eyes of the bouncer, a spoilt student loaded up on booze mostly likely bought using money advanced by the Great British taxpayer, whining at your side while you drag them out of the club. They get a rush of fresh air, voices are raised, insults are exchanged and fists start to fly. How can we stop these sorts of situations happening? Encourage more student bouncers to work on YUSU Club nights.

AD: Bouncers don’t have the most glamorous of jobs in the world. Sure, they have to deal with students hurling abuse at each other, spilling drinks everywhere, and causing a general ruckus. But that’s what they signed up for. Bouncers know that students can be idiots, and they accept that as something they will have to deal with as a part of their job. What they don’t sign up for, however, is the right to be overly aggressive, offensive, and generally authoritatively mad. Signing students up to do this job might seem like a way of solving this issue; but it just isn’t. There’s no reason why students wouldn’t deal with the problem of their drunk and hysterical peers any better than trained, professional bouncers would.

BJL: I’m not attacking how the bouncers do their job as they do it well on the whole, apart from the inevitable isolated cases. The students at this university might perhaps be thankful that the bouncers of York and nightlife in general is relatively tame compared to less urban cities in the north of England, and that, the bookish students of York can be thankful for. What would be even better is to get student bouncers on board. I’ve seen student bouncers doing a great job with on campus events, and they should be encouraged to work on YUSU nights as the mediator between students and bouncers.

AD: Incidents with bouncers might be isolated, but they still happen. And the fact that they happen is bad enough. The idea of students replacing bouncers in an attempt to isolate these incidents even further, and perhaps even rid the problem entirely, is not viable. There is no guarantee at all that student bouncers would bring any less of an authoritarian attitude to the doors of Kuda and Salvation, let alone be able to handle the sort of problems that bouncers have to deal with on a weekly basis. Yes, I suppose student bouncers do sound like a nice idea on the face of it, but when you actually think about the current bouncers we have, regardless of one’s opinion of them, they have a difficult job – a job that students would not be able to cope with.

BJL: I think you are underestimating the capacity of students, as I said before many are already successful in this occupation. Many more might want to try it out, once they have gone through the training process and gain some experience. The situation at the moment is obviously “us vs. them” and if we have students working as bouncers we effectively cancel this out. Student bouncers will have the simultaneous experience of both sides therefore they can reason with troublemakers. They will most likely be a lot more reasonable once they realise that they are not being dealt with by a bouncer who in their eyes is out to get them for what they see as simply doing what students are meant to do, have fun. But if they are in the position to realise that their bouncer is a student, they might see eye-to-eye and realise that perhaps they have gone too far and might need to tone it down.

AD: I agree that if students were bouncers at YUSU nights, their clubbing peers might see eye-to-eye with them, and might not cause a problem. However, the key word there is ‘might’. In an ideal world, sure, the students would calm down, stop causing a problem, and leave the bouncers to get on with other things; such as stopping drunk people going up stairs they’re not meant to. But, in reality, would this actually happen? I don’t think so. When drunk, why would a student really care who the bouncer is, or whether they are or aren’t a fellow student. Students fight each other all the time, there is nothing new in that. So why would this change if one of the students was a bouncer? Giving him or her a uniform would not make them immune to abuse and rowdy clubbers. In fact, it would most probably make them a target more than anything.

BJL: It’s true that some students don’t care, but you have to be pretty drunk or stupid to start attacking a bouncer without much provocation. Most confrontations arise from disagreements, such as being let back into the entrance or having the wrong ID, etc. In these heated exchanges where the student gets increasingly more desperate, when they realise that getting their way is looking increasingly unlikely, the bouncer needs to win the person’s confidence, perhaps even sympathise with the student when they realise that their big night, their ‘mad one’, has come to an end. Most bouncers in this situation rightly cannot be arsed and are probably on the snappy side, but perhaps if the bouncer was a student, he or she may be able to soothe the person into non-violence, where one more limb might walk away unbruised.

AD: To be honest, students at clubs are pretty drunk, and many can be stupid when drunk, so starting fights with bouncers, given those two factors, is very easily done. That doesn’t mean the bouncers are right to retaliate in an aggressive manor, but it doesn’t change the situation either. However, I still don’t feel that having students as bouncers would change this at all. As I said previously, drunk students do not care who the bouncer is, they just see them as ‘that bouncer’. And, indeed, perhaps student bouncers might be calmer and more understanding than bouncers who aren’t students, but there is still the problem of the drunk students. It’s all well and good if the bouncers are kind and compassionate, but if the students don’t respect the bouncers, whether or not they’re also students, it will create tension, and this will lead to conflict.

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Anoosh Djavaheri
Anoosh is the Scene Editor at York Vision.