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Freshers Initiation and beyond...

(32 Posts)
GKLN54 Fri 05-Oct-12 12:03:05

Am aware of recent initiations involving freshers who had hoped to join sports teams at four Russell Group uni's. Swallowing their own pee, physically forced to drink large quantities of pints of 'cocktails' of spirits, having items of clothing removed, one girl ended up being so drunk, after stripping off whilst dancing on a table, fell and landed on glasses, having obscenities written on their faces with permanent markers (which took days to remove, or like one Fresher scrubbing it off with a scouring pad leaving her face raw and bleeding), semi-forced sexual activities and expected to perform lewd behaviour in public etc. The option was to join in or leave the team. (Some of the team captains (who are the main instigators) belong to local sports teams as well, so that wasn't an option either). The four students in question decided to leave their teams and chosen sports; a loss for both the university and for the students, all of whom had belonged to high profile national Club academies and were all county/regional and higher sportsmen and women. Ironically one lad decided to join the UOTC instead and found it much the same. If similar behaviour happened elsewhere it would be called bullying. Everyone moans about the drink culture we have in this country. Quelle surprise. Thoughts?

lionheart Sat 06-Oct-12 11:53:25

They ought to raise it with the Student's Union and with the University Welfare office and anyone else who will listen (student paper).

There are policies and regulations to prevent this.

halloweeneyqueeney Sat 06-Oct-12 12:02:55

I went back to uni in recent years, a non RG uni, the initiations were terrible! I knew one young man who was football mad, played for county at home, and had such a horrific experience with the initiation into the uni football club that he never went back.

the initiations aren't just alcohol they are quite sexual too, male and female groups paired up/tied together and the dress code is pretty much none

hazing needs to be properly banned and enforced. First time I went to uni one of my flat mates joined a club that had a lot of medical students (IMO hazing is worse in unis that have medical students) and we found her on the grounds of our halls completely out of it with all sorts written all over her. She stayed in the club, even though you weren't a team player unless you get involved in the team sex games!

I've had some great experience with uni clubs, they can be really life enhancing, it's a shame that hazing is becomming more common!

halloweeneyqueeney Sat 06-Oct-12 12:04:31

lionheart a lot of the hazing nights take part IN the students union premises in full view fully advertised and photographs displayed etc

Lecturers etc are fully aware and its "a bit of fun" for the freshers hmm (to be found on a pavement with no watch or wallet or recollection of the hours before hmm)

nameuschangeus Sat 06-Oct-12 12:07:04

I work in student welfare at a non rg uni and if someone reported to me this had happened to them it would be taken extremely seriously.

halloweeneyqueeney Sat 06-Oct-12 12:18:13

There are some unis where it doesn't really happen and I believe it would be taken very seriously (my local one for example, clubs are for what they are for IYKWIM), but in the ones where it was happening it was very much part of the institutional culture

creamteas Sat 06-Oct-12 14:31:43

Where I work now, this doesn't seem to happen. But at my previous uni, I heard lots of stories like this, but usually there are no formal complaints.

When victims come forward, action was taken against perpetrators and steps were taken to prevent them happening again (including supporting criminal prosecutions) .

But mostly I was told about things that happened to 'friends' and there is little anyone can do about that. I always reported what I had heard, but hearsay is not evidence.

boomting Sat 06-Oct-12 15:28:02

Initiations do happen, yes, but they're rarely as bad as the OP makes out, with the exception of rugby clubs! They're really not anything to worry about normally - TBH I don't know what the fuss is all about - with the exception of rugby clubs!

Copthallresident Sat 06-Oct-12 16:33:09

I have studied at 3 RG/1994 unis, in the 70s, 80s,and for the last six years and DD is at a fourth. I was a netball player too and managed the first team rugby ground bar in my final undergrad year so heavily involved with sports festivities, and two of those unis had medical schools. However I have never encountered this sort of thing. Lots of drunkeness obviously, especially "RUGBY PLAYERS" and "MEDICAL STUDENTS" (the grossest party I have ever attended was at St Thomas's, vomit several inches deep everywhere) and some dodgy antics, my netball skirt was arrested wrapped around a rugby player, but not this sort of bullying, intimidation and misogyny (though plenty of bullying and intimidation on the court obviously) and team selection was always on merit. Perhaps it is because all four unis are very politicised, you would be very very brave to try any misogyny at my current uni, our SU women's officers are notoriously scary and radical! It did mean certain values prevailed across the universities.

Copthallresident Sun 07-Oct-12 00:08:34

GKLN54 A quick google will tell you this was a problem 4/5 years ago but at most unis SUs stepped in pretty sharpish to ban such practises, most of our DC s were raised with pretty sound values. I wonder if your sport is fishing?

lionheart Sun 07-Oct-12 14:24:36

There are regulations that govern student behaviour and will be invoked if the student's step out of line. I don't know any university employee who would ignore something like this (academics and administrators and those who are responsible for student welfare).

Perhaps at the University in question something has gone very wrong with the safeguards that are supposed to be in place. But it has to be the students who make the complaint. Do you know if they tried to do anything after they had these experiences?

EduCated Mon 08-Oct-12 22:31:01

I believe the BUCS league had outlawed initiations for competing teams (and a uni team is basically pointless if it's not in BUCS). I don't know how well this is enforced, but means its reportable to a body that had the power to do something.

figroll Tue 09-Oct-12 13:37:33

Well it does still happen as my dd has told me about girls and boys having bottle of strong cider strapped to their arms and various states of undress. She would never join a sports club because of this and she is a really sporty girl. (This is a RG uni too).

ajandjjmum Tue 09-Oct-12 13:44:43

DD has just said she's quite interested in joining the netball club, but is worried as she has heard about the initiations, and wouldn't be prepared to go through with them.


creamteas Tue 09-Oct-12 18:57:17

Universities take complaints very very seriously. They need to report the issues

canutesauntie Thu 11-Oct-12 19:53:57

Eldest DS has just started at an RG university, wants to play hockey, been playing since he was 5. Hockey team want him to do drink related initiations, hall mate did one yesterday, 2L bottle of gin vodka rum & orange juice, down as fast as possible.
DS doesnt drink spirits after having a really bad experience when he was younger and doesnt like what they do to him, hes contemplating not playing at all now as apparently the team are very pushy on the social /drinking side. I'm livid, where do these kids get off dictating who can be in their gang? Its got to be discriminatory behaviour and I'm having to restrain myself from ringing up the students union and sports president and having a go! Must remember he now has to fight his own battles, but obviously all so different from my day -harumph etc.

boomting Thu 11-Oct-12 21:20:47

canutesauntie - does the hockey club actually specify what alcohol he has to bring? It sounds like a hall mate happened to decide to take that concoction along to his own initiation, which was presumably for another club entirely. Whilst I have seen quantities of alcohol specified, I'm yet to see the type specified. I'm more than willing to bet that he is allowed to bring something else, like wine or cider (although with these things, it's usually advisable to bring something of a fairly low % and not drink before you get there).

It's not discrimination unless they are excluding people on the basis of "protected characteristics" i.e. race, gender, age, sexual orientation. Sports societies do tend to have a heavy drinking culture - but that's just part and parcel of it, and once you've got past the first few socials (where new social secs tend to go a bit crazy) there's no actual pressure to drink IME.

They are not deciding "who gets to be in their gang" on the basis of this. Your son can either choose to take part, or not - that is his choice. If you want to be worrying about the "who gets to be in their gang" thing then presumably you are rather more opposed to the idea of try-outs and 1st and 2nd teams!

I actually have fond memories of my own initiation!

PS yes these things are meant to have been outlawed, hence why they usually go under an alternative name.

Lilymaid Fri 12-Oct-12 09:50:23

DS is at a non RG redbrick university. Initiations for sports clubs seem to happen there - he managed to avoid the alcohol part as he had been very ill.
I can't remember these ceremonies back when I was a student - the only alcohol related tradition was for some to have 21 shots on their 21st birthday.

JustGettingByMum Fri 12-Oct-12 17:20:09

Ds started at RG uni last year, he joined the engineers football soc, no horrid initiation there. Perhaps joining a "subject" sports soc is less elitist? Certainly sounds more welcoming!

GKLN54 Wed 24-Oct-12 12:41:37

Sadly it would appear more have dropped out of hockey and rugby teams, as the 'prize' for playing well - i.e. scoring goals, man of the match etc., is to down several dirty pints (paid for by the victim). The relevant student associations appear to be proud of the players who represent their uni by joining in these acitivities, good team players apparently. One student approached a 'pastoral/welfare' member of staff to be advised that it was part of uni life in the 21st century; another attempted to join in, had room number marked on her arm (apparently so she could be carried back to to the correct room/hall) and another girl left altogether when she saw paramedics placed on the corners of a ritual pub crawl route. Some are strongly coerced into buying rounds of up to thirty quid by their "Freshers Mummy or Daddy". BF child is now contemplating leaving uni entirely as she discovered she'd been filmed and is now on Youtube. A bargain at £9000 a year! Actually, fishing sounds quite appealing...

fussychica Wed 24-Oct-12 14:51:19

GKLN54 - how awful that it should come to that. Poor girl.

I know of keen rugby players who have joined the town club instead of the Uni club for the same reasons and DS gave cricket club a wide berth due to it's drinking culture. Men's hockey club big on the booze too. Such a shame that this is considered normal - dirty pints seem all the rage at some Unis. What a shame it's so bad that paramedics have to spend their valuable time like this. Students who do this kind of thing on a regular basis obviously have too much money at their disposal IMO.

creamteas Wed 24-Oct-12 22:54:05

GKLN54 that is awful and it needs to be stopped. Do you now which welfare person was approached? If it was a residences tutor they are usually just Phd students and some of them don't follow the proper complaints procedure.

If she feels up to it, she should make a formal complaint, there will be a complaint's procedure she can use.

If you want to PM me with the name of the uni, I can help you find the right contact to try.

At my uni, this would simply not be tolerated and any staff member who don't a student that they should put up with it would be disciplined.

boomting Thu 25-Oct-12 19:33:11

Thought some of you might be interested to read BUCS' official line on initiations - they aren't banned, but clubs must provide a written code of conduct for initiations from 2013.

JustGettingByMum Fri 26-Oct-12 15:28:43

I've been really shocked by this thread. It seems incredible that students are required to act in this way to be accepted.

Anyone brave enough to name and shame the Uni's involved?

reindeerjumper Fri 26-Oct-12 15:37:39

I think UEA banned their rugby club completely for a year because of shit like this.

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