The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

New promoters duping freshers and threatening halls’ security

• 100s set to flock halls for fake parties
• ‘Official’ Freshers’ groups set up to promote clubnight
• Activities Officer condemns practice

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A new club promoting company have been misleading thousands of students in the run up to Freshers’ Week, with tactics posing a threat to halls’ security.

Lowercase Events set up a number of Manchester Freshers’ Facebook groups – labelling many as ‘official’. One group accumulated over 3,000 members.

The ‘official’ group says in the description, “Information on events, parties, concerts, nightclubs, accommodation will be posted in these groups.” But the administrators have been using the groups to heavily promote Lowercase Events’ clubnights’ at Purity and Sakura.

Incoming students were using the supposedly ‘official’ group to ask questions about modules, accommodation, and visas.

Speaking on behalf of Lowercase Events, Michael Mouch defended the groups, saying that user generated information was being provided.

Mr Mouch denied the ‘official’ group was misleading, but later admitted that they were incorrect. He promised to update the description, but said taking the group down on facebook was too difficult.

Julia Kibby, who in a separate group claims to be a student at LSE, created an Owens Park flat party event inviting “all students at both UoM and MMU”, adding, “You don’t have to be living in Owens Park to attend.”

She goes on to say, “We’re all going to take over The Tower and then go down to Hashtag,” providing a link to buy tickets.

In another post, Kibby confirms she’s “signed up” to work as a rep through Fatsoma.

Hashtag is a new clubnight held at Purity this Friday and ran by Lowercase Events.

The flat party currently has over 250 people confirming their attendance. After being alerted to the page, the University of Manchester confirmed they would be putting on additional security that evening.

Mr. Mouch, who called the flat party “unacceptable”, admitted he was unsure as to whether Kibby was a promoter that was paid and vetted directly through Lowercase Events, or merely a rep working on commission through the Fatsoma ticket website they use.

“With Fatsoma, anyone can sign up to become a rep. We are not able to control that. They are not employees with us,” he said.

When pushed, Mouch said the money earned by Fatsoma reps came from the Hashtag event, but stressed they were not vetted through Lowercase or paid by them directly.

A spokesperson for Fatsoma said that Lowercase Events could ask for the rep to be removed, but added, “In fairness, that person could create another fake profile and do the same thing again.”

Jeremy Millens, the Managing Director at Purity, said, “We are completely unaware of any tactics like this being used. We are very strict in terms of what we allow our promoters to do, because obviously our reputation is on the line as well. We will be investigating this further.”

After seeing the investigation carried out by The Mancunion, the Students’ Union Trustee and Activities Officer Tommy Fish criticised the practice.

“I’d like to condemn these actions, and believe promoters have gone out of their way to mislead students into attending its events through some pretty innovative, but also dangerous means. This includes a fake flat party at Owens Park and using the Manchester Universities’ names in vain through allegedly ‘official’ Facebook pages, where some unwitting incoming students are asking for advice about course selection and accommodation. This is essentially taking advantage of students who are moving away from home for the first time,” he said in a statement.

Some promoters tried to ‘blend in’ with student discussions, but would eventually bring the conversation to Hashtag. Tee Re, a promoter directly employed by Lowercase Events, dismissed buying official packs, telling Freshers, “We should put together a list of all the best nights, and go to all of them. U got ur Hashtag ticket yet?”

When one student replied that they hadn’t, Tee Re said, “You should get one soon as I think they may sell out.”

Tommy Fish described the tactics as “hilarious”.

In a statement to The Mancunion, The University of Manchester said, “There are a number of promoters every year who try to pass themselves off as official event organisers.”

“We would always urge students to be aware of this before attending these events, or take advice from the Students’ Union before spending their money. In terms of the proposed ‘event’ at Owens Park on September 21, the University has no formal links with Hashtag or its promoters.”

The University went on to thank The Mancunion for their work in bringing this issue to them.