This article first appeared on DUSA Media.
Starting this weekend, the Union is pushing back its closing time from 2.30 AM to 3 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. The change comes after Dundee’s licensing board passed new rules last week. Under the new policy, pubs can stay open until 1 AM, so-called “hybrid pubs” with “substantial entertainment” such as “Duke’s Corner” until 2 AM, and dedicated nightclubs until 3 AM on Friday and Saturday nights.
DUSA’s general manager Chris Sloan, a non-elected full-time staff member of the association, explained that DUSA didn’t favour the change. But other venues moved to extend their hours in reaction to the casino on Marketgait that is open all night and has become a popular student hangout in the early morning hours. The Union felt it needed to follow or “students will vote with their feet,” Mr Sloan said.
He explained that students now come to the Union much later than they used to, with attendance peaking around 1 AM most nights. For DUSA, which makes 90 percent of its income from “mutual trading” such as selling food and drinks, that means the “window of opportunity” for sales has shifted significantly.
The licensing board’s changes, however marginal they may seem – especially to international students from countries where no such limits exist – have been controversial. Opponents argued that Dundonians had a “toxic relationship with alcohol” and that “[a]lcohol and drug abuse blight the lives of citizens” in the city, according to the Courier.
It is questionable whether the Union’s extended hours will have a strong impact on the amount of alcohol students consume, though. “Predrinking,” the practice of meeting up before going out to consume cheap alcohol bought in stores, has become essentially universal among students.
Disclosure: As you know, DUSA Media is part of DUSA. As such, we agreed to hold this story until after the Union’s student staff had been told about the change.