Miami University’s Associated Student Government (ASG) wants to implement angel shots at Uptown bars to increase student safety. Angel shots are used at bars as a code for people who feel uncomfortable on a date or are in an unsafe situation to signal discreetly that they need help from the bartender.
According to CNN, angel shots have gained popularity in recent years due to the high numbers of sexual assault reports.
Three sexual assaults have been reported at Brick Street Bar & Grill this semester.
On Sept. 16, a case of fondling was reported to Miami University Police Department (MUPD) that occured in Brick.
On Sept. 21 and Nov. 3, students reported being sexually assaulted at Brick.
“We loved this idea [of implementing angel shots],” Off-Campus Senator Ben Finfrock said. “I have been in situations where a friend was uncomfortable, and this is an easy and discreet way to handle that.”
Finfrock is acting as the point person on the project.
Finfrock said that ASG came up with the idea at a senate retreat in early September. However, ASG is only now starting the process of writing the angel shot legislation.
“Claire [Keller] was the one who got the ball rolling,” Finfrock said. “She knew Ted Wood [the owner of O’Pub, Left Field Tavern, Pachinko’s, Side Bar and The Wood’s], who was pleased by the idea.”
Keller, ASG secretary for off-campus affairs, along with six other ASG senators, including Finfrock, Julia Koenig, Shelby Frye, Halle Sarkisian, Anna Burke and Dan Bosworth, spearheaded the bill for angel shots to be implemented in bars owned by Wood. They hope this will be implemented in all of the Uptown bars.
On Oct. 2o, ASG sent out a Google form to students to gather research on angel shots. The form asked students questions about their knowledge of angel shots, if they would use them and suggestions on ways that ASG could improve the implementation of angel shots.
“Well over half of the student body said that they’d use it,” Finfrock said.
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The data gathered from the Google form will be used by the bill’s authors when presenting it to the senate for a vote.
“I really like angel shots,” said sophomore Rachel Anthony, who visits the Uptown bars regularly. “I would definitely use this.”
Sophomore Lauren Havlin is also a fan of the potential program.
“I’ve never been in [a] situation [to ask for an angel shot],” Havlin said. “But it would be a smart thing to have at the bars.”
ASG, along with Wood, plans to implement a tentative trial run this coming weekend of angel shots at Wood’s properties. Senators working on the initiative plan to meet with Wood to discuss how helpful the program was after the trial run.
“To me, it's 100 percent worth participating in a program that could potentially keep someone safe or even save a life,” Wood said.
Wood said he understands that bars are no exceptions for potential danger and trains his employees to be able to spot potential problems and dangerous issues. However, Wood knows that some issues can go unnoticed.
“A solution like ordering an angel shot can bring awareness to a potential problem to light, so preventative measures can be taken,” Wood said.
Wood and the senators aimed to make the shot as simple as possible. Rather than having an angel shot ordered “neat,” “with ice” or “with a lime,” which some places use to indicate how severe the bartender will react to the order, Miami students would just order an angel shot.
“We wanted it simple so that if a student ordered it incorrectly, they wouldn’t get something they didn’t want,” Finfrock said. “The bartender and the student would decide the best course of action from there.”
ASG has drafted a graphic for ordering an angel shot that will be placed in the bathrooms of all of Wood’s properties.
Finfrock hopes to pass legislation through ASG before Thanksgiving to implement the angel shots full-time.
Finfrock’s eventual goal is to implement angel shots in all of the Uptown bars.
“I think this will be very beneficial,” said senior bartender Sophia Fisher. “[It’s] an easy way to say something is wrong without explaining yourself.”
Fisher has been a bartender at Side Bar and The Wood’s since her junior year.
As a bartender, Fisher said that she’s unable to always watch every student to make sure they’re safe. She believes this program will help students feel more comfortable when going out.
Fisher said even before angel shots were being implemented, if a student came up to the bar and told the bartender they were uncomfortable, the bartender could get the manager to help the student home. She thinks that this program will only be an issue if the bars are extremely busy, as the bartenders would have trouble stepping away from the bar.
“If a student is super drunk or unresponsive, we send them home or call a friend of theirs to help them get home,” Fisher said.