Raisin antics get a mixed response

St Andrews;'St Andrews University Raisin Monday bash'photo; WALTER NEILSON
St Andrews;'St Andrews University Raisin Monday bash'photo; WALTER NEILSON

Hundreds of students took part in the Raisin weekend celebrations in St Andrews, which climaxed on Monday with the now traditional foam fight in the university’s St Salvator’s Quadrangle.

However, the highight of the programme was earlier marred by the antics of a minority of undergraduates, who upset some town centre residents, with claims of drunken and loutish behaviour.

One angry local branded the event an “absolute joke,” while another called for university authorities to ban it.

Said one householder; ”The events that happened on Sunday were utterly disgusting. This absolute joke of an old student tradition has escalated very much out of hand. I felt as though there was true hostility on the streets.”

There were reports of students openly drinking alcohol in the streets, criminal damage, urinating in public, fighting and abusive language.

Another local said that she was walking in Market Street when a bottle flew out of a window of a flat above and broke immediately in front of her, while another spoke of the initial enjoyment of seeing some of the student fun deteriorating to an unacceptable level as alcohol fuelled undergraduates took to the streets on Sunday night.

She told the Citizen: “Driving to work on Sunday afternoon I had a little chuckle at the students running about in their pyjamas. It was not so funny, however, on the way home at about 11.30pm to be met by upended wheelie bins, rubbish and debris strewn across City Road, ambulances parked outside local bars, police patrolling, with the town looking like a riot had occurred.

“It saddens me to see how this old tradition has fast become an excuse for loutish drunken behaviour. When will the university put a stop to this?”

Responding to the criticism, Niall Scott, the university’s director of communications, said:”This, of course, is a student tradition rather than a university event, but one which we of course monitor closely. On the whole, the weekend’s celebrations appear to have passed off peacefully, with good natured enthusiasm and with no major incidents, a view shared by Fife Constabulary.

“It is inevitable, however, that in such a concentrated community the view of the Raisin celebrations may become skewed for a small number of people who have perhaps witnessed or been affected by isolated instances of excessive or anti-social behaviour. It is important to put these incidents in context – while they are deeply regrettable, they are not the norm and it is very unfair to the thousands of students who behaved responsibly during Raisin weekend to present them as such.

“The university and the Students’ Association worked very hard in the lead-up to Raisin weekend to make students aware of their responsibilities and to encourage appropriate behaviour during the traditional celebrations, and we are pleased our students responded positively.”