‘One final tip – treat University as if it’s a school with a pub.’ (Bad Press, 1990)

The First Varsity Match

The first Varsity match between Swansea and Cardiff took place on 18 March 1997 in Cardiff. Swansea won the Emporium Nightclub trophy, winning 26 – 11. They also, as part of the Varsity, raised money for Oxfam, with the final count being £2000.

Don’t Drink And Climb Fences… 

After a night of drinking in the student bar, one fresher left campus to visit his girlfriend at Clyne halls. However, after attempting to take the short route though the fields, as he climbed over the fence along Oystermouth Road he slipped and impaled himself on a spike. Despite the spike being inserted through his right thigh and into his stomach, he was able to drag himself to the nearest phone box for help. As a result of his injuries, he was operated on immediately and had to be absent from university for three months. (The Waterfront, 1996)

Policy-making at the Students’ Union

One would not think that reading through the policy files of the Students’ Union would be at all interesting, however it provides a unique guide to what issues the students of the Union were concerned with. What makes this interesting is the contrast to todays students and todays policies. There is the sense that the sutdents of the past cared more for the world that did not directly concern them, than we do. Student protests in the 2000s are largely focused upon student issues, and rightly so, but those of the past took up many many more concerns, such as the Anti-Apartheid movement that opposed South Africa’s system of racial segregation that deeply disadvantaged their black members of society. Here is a different policy, highlighting the Students’ Union offical support for a separate Parliament for Wales.

Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

Women Taking Over The Exec.
The first sabbatical Women’s officer took to their post in September 1990. Cathy Nowell ran unopposed and was elected during International Women’s Week in March 1990. Furthermore, another female first took place in the Union as the first female president of the AU was elected.

Sabotaged Elections

The Presidential elections of the Students’ Union in 1991 were sabotaged on Election Day. An unknown person/s stuffed the ballot boxes with extra voting slips for one candidate, which became apparent to the returning officer when counting the votes. The number of votes outnumbered the number of people who had voted. After consulting with solicitors, the election was deemed ‘unsafe’ due to not knowing how many illegal votes were cast, and thus the election was re-run the following week. Finally, Kevin Durham was elected President for the 1991/1992 academic year.

The First Union-run Nightclub Is Opened
The first Union run nightclub was opened on campus, in the Union building on 13 May 1993 – DIVAs. It was to provide affordable drinks as it competed with the campus catering department run bar JCs in Fulton House. The Union did not take full control of JCs until much later in 2007.

Source: Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University


Bad Press and The Waterfront were two different styles of newspaper and so the types of stories that featured in one, was not likely to feature in the other. The 1990s proved a decade of change for the Union, a change that has lasted until today, for example we still have a sabbatical Women’s Officer position, and DIVAs is much the same as it was when it first opened.

[Emma Davies]


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