Fines for inappropriate rituals

Policy is to be put in place to fine societies and sports teams that include vulgar rituals as part of their initiation ceremonies, according to the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Students Jane Grenville. She has spoken out against these practices, saying that they are a form of bullying.

The matter, which is already considered to be a disciplinary offence, was brought to Student Services Committee at the end of the Autumn term last year where it was established that a fine would also be given to any club that took part in such rituals. A set amount is yet to be decided.

Grenville said: “I don’t like anti-social initiation rights and they can often lead to dangerous and problematic situations. I especially worry about the bullying and intimidation aspects, where you feel that you have to have more bravado than you actually do”.

AU Vice-President Jack Kennedy said: “I think common sense needs to prevail. Traditionally it has been the rugby and hockey clubs’ initiations that have gotten out of hand, the other clubs don’t tend to be that bad. But if people want to do it and if people want to get involved they should be allowed to as long as clubs aren’t being offensive. I can see why some people would want to put restrictions on certain practices, however as long as Fresher’s aren’t being forced into doing things they don’t want to do, they should be allowed to continue.”

Last year, the University of York Hockey Club’s initiation ceremony involved rituals such as drinking week-old chocolate milk from a Wellington boot, drinking a bottle of wine through a fish-head and drinking an entire can of Carlsberg one after the other. This caused all participants to be sick, with some vomiting four or five times. Richard De Boltz, who is set to be Hockey Club President from next term, was unaware of any regulations on initiation ceremonies.

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