St Andrews students have been warned not to add to “extreme pressure” facing the NHS ahead of a traditional two-day stint of pranks and parties.
The Raisin Weekend celebration – usually enjoyed by hundreds of people – involves a ritual of older students “adopting” first years.
Traditionally, participants celebrate by throwing pranks and playing games, with the event ending in a massive foam fight.
Last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic and special warnings have been put in place ahead of this weekend’s festivities.
Students should be ‘responsible and considerate’
A letter sent by Professor Clare Peddie, vice-principal of education, warns students to keep behaviour “responsible and considerate” and asks that they are “mindful of the extreme strains under which our NHS and first responders continue to operate due to the continuing pandemic.”
The letter says in previous years students have ended up in “serious danger” after drinking too much.
“I am writing to appeal to all of you please to make sure that you celebrate responsibly,” it reads.
“In previous years we have 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.
“Please be mindful of the extreme strains under which our NHS and first responders continue to operate due to the continuing pandemic, and behave in ways that do not add to these pressures.”
As well as safety fears, students have been asked to respect non-student residents of St Andrews.
The letter says: “This year, please remember that no matter where you are, you are a representative of the university and we expect responsible and considerate behaviour from all our students at all times.
“This weekend may be busier than usual due to school half term holidays, so you will be sharing our streets with residents and visitors, including families with young children.
“We regard public misconduct, annoyance to neighbours and visitors, hazing and abuse of alcohol as completely unacceptable.”
It warns that there will be a heavy police presence in the town over the weekend and any anti-social behaviour will be dealt with firmly.
It adds: “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.”
“Please make sure you, and your fellow students, are safe at all times during Raisin Sunday, take advantage of the free lateral flow testing in advance of and following the weekend, and 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, collected a criminal record, or contributed to a spike in Covid cases.”