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24th September 2012

Lavish perks offered to peddle club nights to students

– Committee members offered special perks to sell Freshers Pack – SKUM discounts, free entry to clubs among the benefits

A company promoting club nights to Freshers offered exclusive perks to Halls committee members (JCRs) in an attempt to sell their welcome week packs.

JCRs are responsible for delivering a quality and value-for-money Welcome Week and receive a budget generated from student’s rent fees.

The Welcome Week Company, a subsidiary to Social Junkies, insisted the contract dates back two years and they have since demanded the practice stop, but the leak emerged from two Fallowfield halls committee members who claim it was offered to them for last year’s Welcome Week.

The perks included free entry to all Social Junkies events for the remainder of their university life, as well as discounts to SKUM events and free entry to all clubs involved in the pack, which was priced at £45.

A spokesperson for Social Junkies said: “It is not attributable to anything that occurred for this current (or last year’s) Welcome Week. This was raised as an issue two years ago and as such, both Social Junkies and The Welcome Week Company have expressly stated in all of their meetings there will be no incentives for any JCR or RA to work with either party.”

But the JCR who leaked the contract was organising last year’s Welcome Week for a prominent Fallowfield halls, meaning they would have been offered the deal a year after Social Junkies claim to have dealt with the matter.

No official perks are thought to have been offered to JCRs this year, though several Halls of Residence committees again teamed up with The Welcome Week Company.

The committee member who spoke to The Mancunion also claims that after rejecting the offer, they alerted the University to the practice and offered an alternative proposal to running Welcome Week.

But despite the Vice Chancellor wishing the initiative “every success”, the Pastoral Care Support Worker for the halls in question refused to recommend JCR members to cooperate.

Nick Pringle, General Secretary at the Students’ Union said: “I’m extremely concerned about reports that students were pressured into signing deals with club promoters for their welcome week packages.”

He added: “As a Students’ Union we’re committed to supporting and developing residences associations and JCRs so that they remain student-led. As every student pays into their association through accommodation fees, students must always be in control of the activities and finances of these associations. It’s clear that a change is needed and we’ll be working with the students involved and the university to find a solution.”

Brendon Jones, General Manager for Pastoral Care, said in a statement: “Residents Associations and Junior Common Rooms are autonomous bodies with constitutions and are elected by the residents in the Halls. We always offer them support and advice in all matters that are drawn to our attention including entering into any agreements with third parties.”

“Over the previous year meetings have been held to offer advice on managing approaches from promoters because we are aware that RAs and JCRs are regularly targeted.”

This is not the first time Social Junkies have made The Mancunion headlines. In 2010, students and the University condemned their promotion tactics, heavy emphasis on drinking, and their event entitled ‘Fuck a Fresher’.

Richard Crook

Richard Crook

Editor-in-chief at The Mancunion. E-mail me at [email protected].

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