The Student Services Council proposed and passed a motion to update the discipline procedure in the Association Laws in regards to drinking rules on Tuesday 30 January.
The previous rules stated that if a student was caught drinking under-age or purchasing a drink for someone underage, they would be fined £30 and banned for six months or until their 18th birthday, whichever was longer, on the first offense.
However, the new laws rule that on the first offence, the perpetrator will be fined £50 but will not be banned until the second offence, which will not include an additional fine.
The motion was proposed by Hannah Jacobs.
Although it passed, the motion will not be formally adopted until it is passed by the board in February as it involves alcohol laws.
Ms Jacobs spoke to The Saint as to her reasoning behind drafting the motion.
“I was at a meeting for Northern Services where Sabbaticals from other Students’ Associations in Scotland were also present.”
She continued, “The topic of underage drinking discipline came up in conversation, and it struck me that our procedures were much harsher and unforgiving than other establishments, and that this was something that definitely needed looked at,” Ms Jacobs said.
£50 was raised as the fine for first offenders from £30 because it was believed to be “an appropriate deterrent to students for committing the offence, but not an amount that will have a devastating impact on students on a low monthly budget,” according to Ms Jacobs.
In terms of only banning the perpetrators on the second offence rather than first, she stated, “not only does this prevent them from coming to evening events, but it also prevents them from taking part in any activities run by societies or subcommittees within the building. In a small town like St Andrews, this can severely limit your social circles.”
First year Louise Gourgeon, who is 17, agrees with these changes to the social scene for 17-year-olds in town.
“I definitely agree with it as most people who get caught aren’t actual-ly drinking but just taking a sip from a friend’s drink. Also, as the Union is the only place in town where under 18s can go, banning them is a bit like It is impossible to do justice to Gillian’s contribution to the trust over the years. Our procedures were much harsher and unforgiving than other establishment skilling their social life,” Ms Gourgeon said.
She continued, “I’ve found it quite hard sometimes when very famous events (i.e. Mermaids Ball, The Vic) are over 18s only because it does feel like we’re missing out on a lot of things.”
Meanwhile, first year Ewan Gilligan, a former bartender before university, believes the SSC should be careful about more leniency towards underage drinking.”
They should be strict on it since it is the law, and there are extreme pen-alties for drink being sold to or bought for underage people.
“I can understand wanting to give young people who make mistakes a second chance, but the Union needs to make it clear that they do not tolerate underage drinking,” Gilligan said.