“Terrible music”, “stampede” – rows over the AU Welcome Night

By Alina Chen

As a self-proclaimed tactful journalist, my ears inevitably perked up when I heard that the AU Welcome Night that I (un)fortunately missed was a disaster, with several demanding refunds the next day. Being a keen club-goer myself, I was surprised that a club night could ever be described as downright terrible! So I decided to find out what actually happened that night in the basement of the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre…

Shamefully, due to my limited reach, what was meant to be an informal inquiry became a one-sided harassment of any acquaintances I had that were willing to speak to me about their experience. So inevitably this article is based on the accounts of the night we received. Most people I spoke with complained about inefficient crowd management and security checks, which created a maddening two-hour-long wait while the jovial effects of alcohol pitifully waned. This seems to have been the biggest problem with the event, and one the AU appears to recognise, as according to the official comment they sent to the Beaver, after we reached out. 

I fully empathise with one of the female students we spoke to, who told us that they had to step out of the queue at one point, because the crowd was making them feel incredibly claustrophobic with everyone pushing and shoving. Shorter girls, in particular, were drowning in a melting pot of people much taller and bigger than themselves. And worse yet, the music was not good enough to save the night, driving people away after 15 minutes inside. 

There are of course people who are surprised that there is any controversy around the AU Welcome Night, claiming that they had a ridiculous amount of fun. Though anecdotally, I only know one such person, and they arrived smashing drunk and jumped the queue (booo), dodging the biggest source of complaint.
The AU affirmed that they had debriefed with the Venue regarding problems with security, promising that they advised us not to be “too distracted by the negatives”: the vast majority of people enjoyed the night once they managed to get inside. Nevertheless, I believe more could be done to make sure everyone can feel safe and respected, enjoying their nights out as they deserve.


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