Administration faces harsh criticism after nixing popular student activity

Fredericton (CUP)—Students are expressing their disappointment after University of New Brunswick associate vice-president academic Shirley Cleave sent an email out to students to say that, because of the risks associated with pub tours and the student union’s inability to insure the events, that they will no longer be allowed.

Pub crawls are known on campus as a popular icebreaking activity, as well as for their colourful shirts and timed arrivals and departures from local bars.

“We decided that pub tours are far too risky events to be ignoring that they happen under some guise of sanction, so they’ve not been officially recognized in the past but they have occurred,” Cleave told the Brunswickan.

Evan Landry was the social representative for the residence Harrison house in his second year and thinks the ban is a big mistake.

“(Pub crawls) are pretty much the biggest source of income for residence houses, leaving most house committees in the lurch. There are even charity events that are put on by residence houses that revolve around going out to bars,” Landry said in an email.

In terms of risks, Landry said he understands the insurance concerns but thinks there have been more than enough precautions taken.

“I have never seen any situations that have gotten out of hand, and in my three-year(s) (of) residence experience the sober representatives and proctors have been more than adequate for keeping students safe and happy.”

Maggie Ward is a grad student at UNB. She wrote in a message that she thinks the university should give their students more credit.

“While I completely understand the risks, university students are adults. We are responsible for ourselves. Whether the event is affiliated with UNB or not, the same risks are involved.”
She said she considered pub crawls to be safer than just going out with friends.

“You are with a larger group, you are all dressed alike, and you have a designated time to be at a designated place.”

Kate Avery, a political science major at UNB, thinks it’s completely reasonable there is a ban on pub crawls to remove the higher amount of liability, but agrees with Ward about pub crawls being safer.

Instead of banning pub crawls, Avery wants the administration to try something different.

“For the people who like to drink, they’re going to drink no matter what. UNB should be encouraging a safe drinking environment for its students, not banning it altogether.”

Travis Daley, the UNB Student Union president, wrote in an email that there will be an open forum in September for students to share their concerns.

“Some of the best memories that university students have are those they gain during student-organized events. However, we want to ensure that students are gaining those experiences in the safest and most memorable of ways,” said Daley.

Landry hopes that the university will reconsider their decision and explore other options within a trial period because of the possible impacts on residences and societies.

“It’s going to be a very different experience, and there will be a lot of disappointed students returning to residence. It really makes me wonder how many will be coming back in the future.”