Den implements one-friend policy

Students can now only bring one non-University of Calgary student friend to ThursDen, the popular student bar night, in an effort to decrease violence. The change comes after an increase in fire alarms, calls to Calgary Police Services and fights at the campus pub since classes resumed in January. The issues spurred the university and Campus Security to approach the Students’ Union about ways to reduce the problems.

“Statistically speaking, by far the majority of all of our problems from the bar when it come to serious disturbances and assaults and property damage and anything that is related to crimes on campus, by far the majority of them are from-off campus folks,” said Campus Security director Lanny Fritz.

“One of our officers came across this individual who was down in a semi-conscious state bleeding from the head and he had been attacked by four other males. Those kinds of things alarm us.”

Fritz said the change will have a definite impact on safety.

“I think it’s certainly a move in the right direction,” he said. “Give it some time to see what kind of effect this will have.”

Previously, students could bring in two friends to ThursDen. Now the previous limit of at most 66 per cent non-students will be reduced to a one-to-one ratio.

“I think that the new one-friend policy at the Den has been a long time coming,” said regular ThursDen patron and second-year communications student Marisa Makin. “I feel like I give up my spot in the Den so that other non-U of C students can go in. Students who pay to go to this university and who look forward to going out Thursdays to the Den should be able to go in before non-U of C students.”

The SU, which owns and operates the Den and Black Lounge, said they are aware of an increase in problems this semester.

“We know of several incidences caused by non-students,” said VP operations and finance James Delaney.

The university can hold a student responsible for the actions of their guest and threaten a lifetime ban from the Den. More severe punishments, such as non-academic misconduct, is usually enough to deter U of C students from causing too much damage and violence.

“If we can limit the number of off-campus folks who come up here just looking for a good time with no other affiliation to the university, we should see a decrease in those kinds of problems,” said Fritz.

Fritz said returning to more of a student bar makes the Den a safer and more enjoyable environment for everyone.

“The more the Den becomes just another bar, where anyone can come, the more dangerous it obviously will become,” said Makin.

Delaney feels the Den is the safest bar in Calgary for students because there is more security per patron, safe transportation options for students and free pitchers of water out at the end of the night.

“It’s unfortunate that our privileges are being taken away due to non-U of C students, but I have witnessed some pretty wicked fights in line for ThursDen and understand why this new policy may help with cutting back violence,” said Den patron and first-year communication and culture student Marni Butler.

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