Hundreds in Filth stampede

first_imgTerrified students were injured after a stampede in the queue for Filth nightclub last Friday night, with OUSU officers blaming the club’s owner for ignoring student safety.People were crushed against metal barriers and suffered bruised ribs after the busy queue became a surging crowd on the Westgate Centre staircase. One student described the incident as a “smaller version of Hillsborough.”Hundreds of people are thought to have made their way to the club late on Friday night, including many who had been drinking at Cardinal’s Cocktails at the Town Hall. The club’s bouncers were operating a ‘one out, one in’ policy, and tried to prevent disgruntled people in the queue from leaving. The crowd became aggressive, pushing and shoving, causing people to be crushed against the barriers and fall down the stairs. Kate Denham, a third-year student at Lincoln College, said, “It was really dangerous, and they didn’t deal with the situation, which was escalating, for a whole hour. Then suddenly all of these security guards in bright yellow jackets, at least four on my section of the queue alone, appeared and started just shoving at the crowd. People were getting severely winded on the metal security barrier.” Denham said that she approached a security guard and asked him not to push people, as it was making them fall down the stairs. The guard laughed at her and refused to let anyone out of the queue. “They repeatedly ignored me until I finally managed to let one of them see that I actually couldn’t breathe because the metal bar was pressing so hard against me, then he panicked and lifted me out of the crowd. If anyone had fainted or passed out in there they would have sustained severe injury, if not been trampled to death,” she said.One Lincoln student, who wished to remain anonymous, said that she sustained bruising and abdominal pain after being caught in the crush. “I was winded and got a bit bruised on my side,” she said. “We were queuing and the queue was so big that no one could see there was a metal bar. Everyone was trying to push forward and shoving backwards and forwards. A bouncer came over to sort it out and shoved me, so I got the full force of the bar.” She added, “They [the club’s management] weren’t very safety conscious at all. A lot of people were shouting to get out of the queue.”  Brasenose student Karen Angus blamed drunken students who arrived in the queue after Cardinal’s Cocktails. “I lost the other three people who I was queuing with because so many people tried to push in. One guy jumped over the barrier in front of me and was trying to pull some of his other friends over the barrier so I said to him that it wasn’t fair and that I’d lost all my friends in the queue now because they’d all pushed in. He replied by saying, ‘Well just go and get some more friends then,’” she said.Louise Randall, OUSU Vice-President for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, said, “Filth is run for profit by an independent club promoter, rather than a service for students. We’re really sorry to hear that it was an awful night because we want all students to have a good night regardless of where they go, and the student safety concerns are obviously worrying.”She added, “If Balreick [owner of Rock Oxford] is unwilling or unable to provide adequate protection for students at his nights then students should vote with their feet. There are a number of alternatives on a Friday, including OUSU’s own Zoo night at Risa. No student should have to go to a night that they feel is unsafe or just not fun.”OUSU Vice-President (Finance), Rich Hardiman, also criticised Balreick Srai’s promotion nights at Filth, saying, “We spend the majority of our profits from Zoo by putting it back into services. That’s the difference between us and Balreick.  It sucks that somebody feels they can take students for a ride and treat them like dirt. I think it’s a really sad thing that anyone can get away with treating Oxford’s students that badly, just to make a bit of money.” Balreick Srai, owner of Rock Oxford, declined to comment on the incident.last_img