Bizarre university initiation ceremonies, or, more Nazis appear in Britain – should we be worried?

The BBC (amongst others) reports today about the initiation ceremonies undertaken by students across the UK in order to be accepted as a member of a university society (generally sports society, but it’s not exclusively athletics related). It has a video showing a group of students from the University of Gloucester being lined up against a wall by someone dressed in what looks like a Nazi uniform, being forced to drink alcohol and then throwing up before being walked in lines around the town.

I have never been a big drinker, and the thought of initiation ceremonies like this would definitely have put me off joining a sports team in university, had I been athletic enough to have been considered in the first place! I know many people, though, who have been put through these initiation ceremonies and it is nothing short of outright bullying. The other members of the society definitely think less of you if you don’t do it, and in their eyes it is far better that you drink until you need to be taken to A&E for emergency treatment rather than demonstrating an initial reserve and some common sense about the amount and the speed at which you consume the alcohol.

Exactly what is the point of this sort of activity? Can someone please enlighten me? How does your capacity to drink alcohol and to do stupid things whilst drunk relate in any way to prowess on a sports field? I would have thought that, if you want to put prospective sports club members through an initiation it would be far more apt to put them through a really gruelling, semi-SAS style fitness test. No? Just me? But seriously, please someone explain to me the attraction of this sort of thing!

I just don’t get it!

In a marginally related topic, it worries me that people are dressing as Nazis for this sort of thing. We’ve only recently heard about a Nazi rally in Somerset, and now another example of the image of Naziism returning with the wearing of a Nazi-style uniform by the student organising the ceremony in the BBC video. I know that we live in a (nominally) free society, but there should be tighter limits if this sort of thing is deemed acceptable. Have people forgotten what it must have been like to live in 1930s Germany and through WW2 in Europe?

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2 Responses

  1. I am not sure a rugby club is the best example to prove that initiation rituals at universities are common. I think rugby and weird goings on are common whether at school, university or clubs organised at work. I was great at rugby at school and enjoyed playing the game but gave up because of what was going on in the showers.

    I think rugby for anyone over 15 is just an excuse or thin disguise for gay orgies with bisexual men. Similar to joining the SA brown shirts in the 1930s.

    I don’t think I mentioned rugby in particular, and I am sure that these initiation ceremonies aren’t limited to rugby clubs. I am also not comfortable with your reference to homosexuality, and have deleted your link to the Youtube video as I don’t think it is appropriate in this context. For your future reference, I would much prefer it if commenters could leave a valid name and e-mail address (I’m assuming that the one you left is not your actual address).

    I can feel a commenting policy document approaching!

  2. Just been talking about this with hubby. They had a discussion on 5Live about it earlier which he was listening to, and apparently they decided it all stems back to Eton rugby players.

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