Balliol bar’s weekly discount drinks night, Crazy Tuesday, is under threat after a vandalised toilet caused flooding last week, leading the College’s Acting Dean to question the event’s future.
The Lindsay Bar, open to all members of Oxford University, came under scrutiny after the vandalism on Tuesday 1st February during the popular weekly event.
As a consequence of the incident, the College Acting Dean Adrian Kelly closed the bar the following Wednesday evening, threatening “if the person or persons responsible do not come forward by 5pm today, the JCR bar will be closed until further notice” in a email sent to all Balliol students.
The Acting Dean is now to look into whether Crazy Tuesday will continue in its current form.
Kelly’s decision to close the bar was met with controversy from the Balliol student population, due to the fact that the bar is run by the Balliol JCR.
The subject was debated at a JCR meeting on Sunday 6th February, when “Lord Lindsay” (the elected position in charge of running the bar) Simon Wood highlighted the JCR’s financial reliance on the bar.
“We do rely on Crazy Tuesdays to make a profit,” he said.
Wood also said that the financial importance of the bar means that the evening “has to be resurrected as best we can because our profit margins are so low”.
According to Wood, the profits from the bar are used to fund other JCR functions, so the bar needs “to make a sufficient profit to sustain the JCR”.
Some Balliol students argued that the large representation from other colleges at Crazy Tuesdays – “about 90 percent there are not from Balliol”, said one – made it uncertain if the vandal was from within the College.
One first year student commented that on Tuesday evenings “all the Balliol people hide in the JCR” due to the bar being overrun by students from outside College.
When the subject was debated at the JCR meeting, Wood pointed out that the evening’s unpopularity with College administration stemmed from the large amount of external students in Balliol.
He said that College officials “hate people out of College being in College”, and that the incident with the toilets had “flagged up the problem”.
Although a motion to put a stop to Crazy Tuesdays was raised at the JCR meeting, the eventual vote saw it defeated.
An amendment to the motion suggested that the College doors should be locked earlier and that every student from outside the College should be signed in to the bar as a guest of a Balliol student, thus making “troublemakers accountable to a student representative”.
Speaking about the outcome of the meeting, Wood said that “the JCR wishes to keep Crazy Tuesdays and I will make my negotiations to that end, the General Meeting giving me a stronger mandate than I otherwise would have had”.
A copy of the minutes of the meeting was unavailable as they are “required to be a verbatim report” that will take “several days to type up and check for accuracy” according to the JCR Secretary, David Bagg.
College opinion on Crazy Tuesdays remains divided, particularly on the subject of out of college attendees.
One second year said that “what is essential is that we provide a good atmosphere for Balliol students”.
While debated changes in the meeting included only allowing Balliol students to purchase discounted drinks, Wood pointed out that a similar measure taken in the past had led to the bar nearly becoming unprofitable.
The future of Crazy Tuesdays remains uncertain, as any measures will need to be approved by the college Acting Dean.
“If we keep Crazy Tuesdays, they are going to be completely radically altered,” Wood said. “Raising prices will probably have to happen, whatever. I don’t think there’s a chance of them remaining as they are.”
Wood continued: “My next step will be to discuss the matter further with the Acting Dean at some point early this week.”
Adrian Kelly was contacted, but declined to comment on the matter.
One student at the JCR meeting argued that the College administration was reacting to “an isolated incident”.
The writers of the Balliol Bulletin – Balliol’s informal, internal student publication – disagree that all blame should be laid at the feet of non-Balliol students.
“The idea that all outsiders are sub-Visigothic wreckers, determined to leave chaos in their wake, while Balliolites would never engage in disruptive or damaging behaviour, is self-evidently ridiculous,” stated an article in the publication.
This latest controversy has come after recent crackdowns on College discipline by Dr Kelly, the Acting Dean, who started in his post at the beginning of Hilary term this year.
New measures introduced by Dr Kelly include the stricter imposition of fines for smoking, and the introduction of ‘College Service’, a form of community service used as a punishment for students at Balliol.
While the ‘College Service’ was recently imposed upon a student admitted to hospital for alcohol poisoning, Dr Kelly caused controversy after giving four students retrospective ‘College Service’ for an offence committed last term, which students claim had already been dealt with by Douglas Dupree, the Dean at the time.
All Balliol students contacted chose to remain anonymous due to fear of retribution from Dr Kelly.
“I really wouldn’t feel comfortable with the Acting Dean knowing I’d spoken to a journalist,” said one of the students.