Drink spiking: University of Hertfordshire students join Girls Night In protest

Lit up grey and white nightclub, The Forum, in Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

Students at The University of Hertfordshire will be joining the Girls Night In campaign on November 3. - Credit: Archant

University students are aiming to reclaim the night by taking a stand against drink spiking and highlighting concerns around violence against women.

University of Hertfordshire students are joining the increasingly national protest Girls Night In on November 3 - a campaign that sees women boycott clubs and bars.

The students originally planned to boy a Student Union event at Hatfield's The Forum nightclub on November 3. But the University's Student Union has postponed this event "as a sign of [their] solidarity". 

In the event's place, the Student Union has adapted the original protest, which started in Edinburgh, moving it from inside the home to an on-campus vigil. A venue has yet to be decided upon.

"I think it's important that females are not forced to stay inside," explained Rhiannon Ellis, 24, president of the University's Students' Union, "That's why I decided I want to lead a vigil on campus with a kind of 'reclaim the night' theme'.

"We will still be a part of the Girls Night In campaign. But this is an opportunity for everyone to come together and show their support no matter what their gender is."

Following the murder of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, Rhiannon has felt a heightened sense of fear among students.

"I've felt unsafe on a night out before. But that's kind of the same as how I feel day to day. It's hard being a woman," Rhiannon added.

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When it comes to drink spiking, she stressed that the blame should always be on the spiker, not the victim. During the last two months, almost 200 incidents of spiking had been reported to UK forces, the National Police Chiefs' Council confirmed. 

A Herts University meme Instagram account called Memefordshire fully supports the Girls Night In protest.

"It’s been amazing to see this grassroots campaign grow all the way from Instagram to BBC News," its spokesperson said.

"Memefordshire won’t stop pressuring the uni until they make the elimination of sexual violence a priority in both their words and their actions.”

On October 27, students from Hertfordshire University appeared on Sky News to talk about the Girls Night In boycott.