Keep traditions, urges St Andrews University rector

Traditions such as Raisin Weekend should be preserved, says Catherine Stihler. (Photo: George McLuskie)
Traditions such as Raisin Weekend should be preserved, says Catherine Stihler. (Photo: George McLuskie)

The traditions of Raisin Weekend have been defended by St Andrews University’s new rector in the face of criticism from the town’s community council.

MEP Catherine Stihler was speaking at this week’s council meeting when she met criticism of Raisin Weekend from council chairman Howard Greenwell head on and urged community councillors to become involved in securing the safety of the event.

“I think this part of the university experience is about preserving the rich traditions we have,” she said, adding that the tradition had to be protected so students could “fulfil that rite of passage”.

“There is a lot of work that goes into it to try to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible,” she continued.

But she underlined the efforts of students and police in ensuring safety was paramount.

Ms Stihler was responding to complaints that every year there were issues raised with the council over Raisin Weekend.

Mr Greenwell said that most of the complaints revolved around events on the Sunday, not so much Raisin Monday.

“A lot of the issues we tend to get revolve around very drunk students by lunchtime on Sunday, causing offence and other things,” he said.

Ms Stihler assured community councillors: “I take on board your concerns over rowdiness issues, which we have to work together on, safety is paramount.”

And she challenged community councillors: “I will certainly be out helping this year and I would encourage members that want to take part in the safety initiative to please let us know and we will work together.”

The meeting also heard concerns from Ms Stihler about student accommodation in the town as she appealed to the community council to work with her.

As a former St Andrews student, she told councillors: “What has struck me in coming back is the poor state of the private sector, in particular problems with dampness.

“There are concerns about the poor quality of rented accommodation for students in the private sector and that is something we have to address together.”

Mr Greenwell said the issue had to be looked at in terms beyond the student population.