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


Hayes College. Within the media, it is an institution that boasts itself to society as the pinnacle of integrity, respect, tolerance and liberty, achieved through their diplomatic culture and academic success. To be part of an establishment with such a flawless reputation of class and esteem, to brazenly don with patriotic rigour the glaring gold and vermillion red that adorns the coat of arms, why, it is an opportunity most would kill for. Or die for. As underneath the opulence, the grandiose accolades and star studded alumni, there lies a secret reality so sinister, so wicked, one so deeply ingrained into the centuries old masonry, that it lurks beneath the foundation of this building. Dear reader, I offer you a warning. Heed my word, because Hayes College is not all that meets the eye. For far too long a nefarious practice has seeped into the very culture of the school, one that I have spent dozens of cruel hours infiltrating and investigating so I can bring to light the realities of the college. No longer will it be classified information, whispered about amongst the elites, slyly drawing in the unsuspecting. It is here I share with you DECLASSIFIED - an intrepid exploration of the ritualistic racism rampant in the hazing initiations across the underworld of luxury.

To set the scene, let us imagine ourselves in the position of the fresh faced, bright eyed, newly enrolled Hayes students. We can imagine them to be thrilled as they embark on the exciting future awaiting them. They may have even begun their journey to embed themselves within the culture and history of the school. In order to do this, let us imagine our freshers decided to sign up for a society. Harmless, right? In fact, it is even a rite of passage to do so for a maximised university experience, and so is heavily encouraged. We follow our freshers as they excitedly sign up to a sports team, nothing expresses camaraderie more than sports after all! Let us say that sports have always been an activity you loved, and you’ve been looking forward to tryouts since admission. Hayes College is quite famous for rugby, with a decorated team that adds to the prestige of the name. Being a part of the team is considered by many a sure fire way to place yourself amongst the most respected of your cohort. Resultantly, the competition is fierce - the stragglers are fished out, and on top remains the strong willed and capable. You have joined the hierarchy at a level that puts the world in your palms, this is who you are now. You’re doing what you love, with people you love and you’ll do anything to retain it; you have to. Because it dawns on you. There are too many people watching. There are too many smouldering eyes taking note of your every move from here on out. The older students who you don’t want to admit scare you, your teammates who take on whatever is thrown at them, so you can’t be the only one who says no. You cannot afford to sacrifice this opportunity, you would rather sacrifice your dignity.

You would do everything anyone asks, because that's the way it’s always been, and everyone else is doing it, so it can’t be that bad. When it’s over they’ll respect you, they’ll cheer your name and see you as kin. If you fail..if you back out, well then you might as well die. Peer pressure is a fickle thing. It commands you to push yourself and your boundaries to heights unknown because to be loved is better than to be alone, even if it hurts. You can’t be a Hayes rugby player if you don't act like a Hayes rugby player. When in Rome, you do as the Romans do. But the Roman Empire was vicious.

The Hayes Men’s rugby team were quite unique with their initiation practice. The term ‘hazing’ most adequately details the affair. In essence, the crude act of humiliation, degradation, abuse, or endangerment is something a person is required to do in joining or participating in a group regardless of their willingness to do so. This has taken many forms and expressions over the course of history, manifesting itself across borders and cultures. There’s a level of fantastical sadism that I cannot help but perceive when I look at such cases. It really makes one wonder, how cruel can humanity be? That at the unfortunate expense of the freshers, the leaders of the society, and thus the future leaders of human society, engage in a power trip akin to tyranny. What they say goes, no matter how brutal, because if you deny them their vulgar desires then you are to be ostracised from the community you dreamed of.

Within the context of Hayes, there were levels to this degradation that should strike shame into the beating heart of this institution. Hayes was a proud establishment, and in the face of the public, each student, especially the older students, were shining prospects of society. But each Jekyll had a Hyde, and the student’s sickening inhibitions were released in the alcoves of the fifth hall ‘Williamton’ basement. Not many knew about this location, the four main halls were scattered across campus and were repurposed as student housing. The Williamton, however, was a building trapped in time. Originally a 4 storey building of Victorian architecture built in the southern wing of campus, the founders of the university would go on to hold soirees, luncheons, and fundraising galas in this particular hall. However, it eventually became obsolete, and remained an ostentatious (and rather gaudy) memorial for the founders. However, what not many knew (until now, as you the reader will be let in on this little secret), is that on an annual basis, the Hayes Rugby team infiltrates a hidden room behind the bookshelves located in the 2nd basement of this building for a 5 day initiation ceremony into the secret society within the rugby team. Only the most promising of the team’s cohort are invited for this incredibly elite gathering, and membership guarantees luxuries that go beyond the scope of simple education. It’s a legacy. It is here where Hayes College’s biggest stain occurs.

My father was a legacy, and so I was able to work my way with intent into this gathering, the mystery mystified me. In my investigation, I couldn’t help but notice there were particular disparities in the humiliation rituals. Hayes' rugby team has always been fond of violence; it made sense. The big and brawny bunch would battle it out through endurance tests, chugging formidable amounts of a terrifying alcoholic concoction the President would clumsily devise, and run seemingly endless laps to prove their worth and strength to acquire validation, it was basic hegemonic masculinity. Toxic, nonetheless, but this was not what surprised me.

Two boys had been called for by the team captain, day three of the initiation. With (surprising) clarity, I remember watching from the corner of the room as I caught my breath, sweating profusely because of the blinding round of whatever elixir they had poured into the plastic red solo cup shaking in my hands. I do not recall their names of the boys, however their identity isn’t what I’m bringing attention to, it was what they looked like that mattered. Both towered over the captain, though had youthful, innocent eyes. Like me, they had completed a gruelling round of the alcoholic mix, and they had just returned from their 15th lap around the compound outside the hall. Brutal, I know. They looked sickly, though everyone looked sickly apart from the team committee who had abstained from drinking, and like the rest of the attendees, the two boys didn’t want to back out, not just yet. Not with their reputation on the line. I remember how the team captain swaggered towards them, with a slight smirk on his face and a way of holding himself that commanded the room, even though he had to tilt his head back to make eye contact. He was stout, though with an athletic body composition that could leave you imagining a fierce player on the field. He was also white. The two boys were black. Notably, they were the only black people in the room, as well as on the team.

Admittedly, this was not something I had immediately noticed, I don’t necessarily make a habit of processing my racial position, particularly in an institution like Hayes where I belonged to the overwhelming majority. For me, my presence in such an affair was so much of a given, I didn’t bother to pay attention to how those two boys may have been treated in comparison to the rest of us. In retrospect, it was probably such a dissimilar experience for them. I can only imagine how they felt when they walked in; they probably realised straight away. One could even hazard a guess and assume this drove them to be even more determined to make it through the initiation - they had more to prove. And it wasn’t going to be easy.

When the captain called them forward, it was as though the whole room froze, you could even almost see the pause of the swirling releases of breath in the air as the freshers held their tongues in suspense. It was then that the captain ordered them to strip down to their briefs, the whole team committee chortling into their hands. The whole room burst into laughter, with the other freshers egging on the boys to do as the captain said, happy that the focus was off of them, and curious as to what the committee had in mind. With awkward, drunken hesitation, the two boys slowly did as they were asked. The captain made a quick gesture to the committee, and two of them, the events officer and the vice president, scurried forward with two large tubs of what looked like oil. With discernible glee, the two players placed the tubs in front of the shivering boys and ran back to their corner, still snickering.

“Oil up, and fight. Now”. Those were the only words that left the captain’s mouth as he stared at the boys, almost hungrily. They looked at each other with confusion, before realising that he was deadly serious. So they did what he said. Because they couldn’t afford not to. What makes this particularly interesting is that no one else was forced to do this. No one else had actually had to inflict harm on one another, and definitely not for the enjoyment of the captain, who’s eyes sparked with callous delight with every punch they threw at each other. It was messy, it was bloody, it was loud, and I felt sick.

Out of the corner of my eyes, I noticed that one of the committee members, the social secretary, looked ever so slightly uncomfortable. With an investigative mind, I made my way over to him, trying to ignore the escalating grunts of agony coming from the centre of the room. I slid by the secretary and whispered to him, asking why this was happening. It seemed so extreme - more extreme than I thought they were capable of. I thought they would kill each other. The secretary looked at me hesitantly, before whispering back, “It’s just how things are”. It was here that I uncovered that Hayes, a school so well positioned as an academy of virtue, had a rugby team that found inordinate pleasure in recruiting only two black students to the team per cohort, and would invite them to the elite initiation gathering, for no purpose other than to have them engage in a Mandingo style battle. It was tradition. It happened the year before, and the year before that, and will very likely happen again next year too, if not stopped. It’s sickening. And you couldn't back out. The students had to choose between the equally volatile choices of being a victim to each other’s fists for the foul fantasies of the team, or be ostracised. In a place like Hayes where being a black student is difficult enough as is due to the lack of diversity, one can come to understand why they would choose the first choice, no matter how degrading.

It was sad. To see no one challenge this, to see no one care. To look at all the eyes of the people that were egging it on, shift to the ground in discomfort as the pummeling continued. How many of them recognised the role of race here? How many even cared, and were just glad it wasn’t them? How many enjoyed this? When it was all said and done, and the night faded into the tidal wave of a new day, everyone present walked away. Some still slurring in their speech, others beaten down and bruised, but all one of the team at least. They never spoke about this night again, they buried what transpired in the seconds that lingered before the break of dawn. We were forbidden to repeat the events of the night. To the unknowing eye, we had nothing more than a typically raunchy night, and would go on to be known as the star players of the Hayes team, bringing honour to our home field. Personally, I couldn’t let this go on. And that’s why I brought this to you. You, reader, needed to hear this. To understand what evil tradition lies beneath such a respected institution. Without the care taken to further distribute this knowledge I have uncovered, this will continue. People will whisper about it as the rumours linger in the wind. There will be an inkling of a disturbance that people, including the faculty, will actively choose to ignore in order to maintain their name and status, because something so atrocious surely wouldn’t happen here. Ignorance will fight back against knowledge. I heard these whispers and followed them to that night. If you choose to come here, take note. Look at who is around you, look at what they indulge in. Your safety is of paramount importance, and will be constantly challenged the deeper you walk through these halls. With what you have learnt from this exposé, please, take heed and be careful. Don’t turn from a bright eyed fresher into a victim. Don’t let them ruin you for fun.