Cambridge nightclub staff in Societies’ Fair intimidation row

6 October 2011

Police were forced to intervene at the Societies Fair on Tuesday, when staff from The Place nightclub, Cambridge were involved in an altercation with a CUSU steward and a security guard, after the club staff reacted with “intimidating” and “threatening” behaviour to requests to leave Kelsey Kerridge Sports Centre premises.

According to an eyewitness account, on Tuesday morning, a group of six staff from The Place nightclub were, without authorisation, handing out flyers to students queuing up for the first day of the Societies’ Fair at Kelsey Kerridge. At around midday, a CUSU steward and one of the fair’s professional security guards asked the club staff to leave Kelsey Kerridge premises since they did not have permission to distribute commercial material to the queue. According to our eyewitness, The Place staff reacted “very badly” to this, and proceeded to goad the security guard, with one of them reportedly saying: “If you get up in my space, I’ll get up in your’s.” The CUSU steward was forced to request the intervention of three police officers that were attending the fair – only then did the nightclub staff move off to Parker’s Piece, where commercial organisations did not require special permission to distribute flyers.

When The Cambridge Student contacted The Place following the incident, general manager Mark Kingerley accused the fair security guard of having assaulted the female staff member who was handing out flyers. He described the guard’s behaviour as “arsey” and accused him of having “grabbed her by the arm”, which runs directly contrary to our eyewitness account of what actually took place.

Reacting to these allegations, Gerard Tully, CUSU President, said: “”The allegations made about the security staff at the Societies Fair are transparently false and do not tally with any other accounts of what took place, which was the intimidation of pedestrians by aggressive salespeople. It is unfortunate that after one of the most successful CUSU Fairs ever, with 15,000 people through the doors, gate-crashing commercial hawkers who cannot behave themselves would seek to tarnish the event”.

Michael Yoganayagam – Co-Editor in Chief

Photo: Devon Buchanan