Overview Hayes College Incident Long Term Resolutions Further Talk on Hazing Resources to Combat this Who Am I? Bibliography

Those who are studying in or have graduated university, or those who simply read the news, will know a thing or two about hazing. If you haven’t heard, it is akin to an initiation ritual. It may sound harmless but the social expectations that surround hazing are disturbing. It’s like peer pressure, it degrades the person joining the group, their willingness is bought by social approval and not their own self-thinking. They make you run in a field naked, fill you up with alcohol until you can’t handle it anymore, destroy public property, the examples are endless. Is it starting to sound familiar?

If this is starting to sound familiar to you, your mind must have jumped to those sorority house initiation rituals you see in American films, movies like Dazed and Confused (1993) and School Daze (1988). Understandable really, examples of hazing are prevalent all over American pop culture, but what about us in the UK? We have societies in our universities too, don't we? Well, lets see, we’ve got:

  • • The Edinburgh rugby team making new players rub hot sauce on their genitals
  • • Naked wrestling at Cardiff University
  • • Students at Swansea University drinking each other’s vomit
  • • Durham freshers having cooking oil poured into their eyes
  • • A Cambridge fresher left immobilised after being lit on fire
  • • Imperial students posting naked in front of a Winston Churchill statue
  • Horrible, aren’t they? The issue of hazing seems to be brushed under the rug a lot in this country, but it is as severe and shocking as the stories you hear from US sorority students. It’s a disgusting culture that puts young people in danger. However, hazing alone isn’t the only issue I want to bring up on this blog.

    Top UK universities are embroiled in a white, elitist culture. Let’s look at the government statistics. In 2019/20, 72.6% of Russell Group entrees were white, only 8.2% were black and 12.2% were Asian. On top of this, Oxford uni has the lowest number of lower-class entrees at 10% followed by Cambridge with 10.2%. With this demographic it’s obvious that the culture university students are engrossed in reflects it. This extreme difference embraces a power dynamic in student culture. There is more say from these white, upper-class pupils on how university life should be over those who are BAME and lower class and thus there is ‘colour blindness’ to those who are not familiar with the culture. Navigating these spaces have been hard on marginalised students due to the exclusionary attitudes and high expectations placed on them, especially those in the Oxbridge setting.

    Now that I’ve explained this, have you imagined the larger toll hazing takes on those who are systematically excluded from the elitist, white culture of UK universities? Recently, I have uncovered something shocking about a certain Oxbridge college, Hayes College, in fact. Let’s finally move onto what I’ve found in my investigation.

    On a final note for those reading this introduction, I wish for you to spread their story far and wide, and hope that all victims involved get the justice they deserve.