Students at St Andrews University have been warned not to take the traditional Raisin Weekend celebrations too far or risk facing serious consequences.
The typically alcohol-fuelled rite of passage for new students takes place this weekend, with freshers expected to mark the occasion with older students – their ‘academic parents’ – on Sunday before students are let loose on Lower College lawn on Monday for an enormous foam fight.
But after some students put themselves and others in what the university called “serious danger” last year, the entire student body has been warned to remember their responsibilities.
Professor Claire Peddie, vice-principal education (Proctor), has written to all students wishing them an “enjoyable and memorable” occasion, but also stressing the need to be safe.
“Last year we had a good Raisin Sunday on the whole, however, a few of our students did place themselves and others in serious danger due to the effects of alcohol,” she said.
“We also saw a number of incidents involving noise nuisance and degrading conduct around the town.
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“This year, please remember that no matter where you are, you are a representative of the university and we expect responsible behaviour from all our students at all times.
“We regard public misconduct, annoyance to neighbours, hazing and abuse of alcohol as completely unacceptable.”
Professor Peddie added police patrols in and around St Andrews over Raisin are likely to be “significant”.
“Any anti-social behaviour will be met by a very firm response, this is fully supported by the university and the Students’ Association,” she said.
“Where appropriate, university disciplinary processes will follow any reports we receive from the police.
“Raisin belongs to you and your academic family, but as you know, its consequences affect a much wider constituency.
“We are privileged to share this town with people who deserve respect and consideration every day of the year, including Raisin Sunday.
“I know that the great majority of you share that view and that you also look out for one another in a supportive and sensible way.
“So please make sure that you and your fellow students are safe at all times during Raisin Sunday, and that you show courtesy to our friends and neighbours in St Andrews.
“I want your Raisin legacy to be that you had a great time, not that you suffered a dangerous accident or collected a criminal record.”
Raisin Weekend will begin on Sunday with freshers being entertained throughout the day by their academic ‘mothers’ and ‘fathers’, and in return the new students offer presents – once a pound of raisins, but these days a bottle of wine – and on Raisin Monday are given receipts for their gifts.
The ‘children’ will dress in often embarrassing, flamboyant costumes on Monday and are given strange objects with a traditional Latin inscription, before participating in the huge foam fight on Lower College lawn.