Merton college has threatened to reduce the length of college BOPs if the students continue to break college rules by holding ‘inter-BOPs’.
The college issued the warning after the recent spate of ambulance calls to BOPs, linked to excessive drinking. It is thought that the Merton practice of ‘inter-BOPs’ had been a major factor in this.
Oliver Koo, Merton’s Charity Rep, explained, “Merton holds pre-BOPs before the BOP itself: one in the MCR and one in the JCR. These pre-BOPs are sponsored by the respective common rooms (free drinks are provided) and are a nice way for people to mingle and get in the right mood for the BOP.
“The JCR pre-BOP tends to end around 10:30… However, most Mertonians don’t end up going to the BOP till around 12am.
“In between pre-BOPs and the BOP itself, people tend to ‘inter-BOP’. Basically, this amounts to friends congregating in someone’s room, listening to music, playing drinking games etc.”
As a result, the college was concerned with people’s safety and threatened to reduce the time of the BOPs from 2am to 1am or 12pm unless this behaviour stopped.
In accordance with the college handbook any group of 10 or more people is classed as a party and must be authorised. Before the most recent BOP on Saturday night, the JCR sent out an email explaining that porters would be on patrol ready to shut down any interbops and fine those involved. Bouncers had been instructed not to let anyone in if they were too drunk.
Welfare Rep, John Brazier, commented on student reactions to this, “Obviously any perceived attempt to make BOPs less alcoholic is going to be met with negative student reactions.
“Being unable to stop students from legally drinking under uncontrolled circumstances, they instead crack down on unofficial gatherings; most of which have been regular events all year.”
However, he further noted, “I think it’s important to understand that what the College is doing is neither the end of BOPs, nor a real change of the rules in place. The rules were already there, they were just little enforced. The fact that the College sought first to warn, and didn’t simply have a crackdown, is highly telling; what matters to them is the appearance of the College and, ultimately, student safety and I think that we can all agree that its safer to have people enjoying themselves in a controlled environment.
Oliver Koo said, “I think this past BOP went extremely well, in spite of the negative attention surrounding it: attendance was high and there was a great atmosphere at both pre-BOPs and the BOP itself, no doubt a product of people spending more time together in the JCR/MCR, and not sequestering themselves in student rooms for a couple of hours for inter-BOP.
“No ambulances were called, so that’s always a plus!”