The Delft student association Virgiel did not report the fact that a woman student suffered severe concussion during the initiation. The association was only forthcoming about the incident two and a half months later, and is being penalised by the university as a result.
The student ‘was hit on the head by something’ during the so-called ‘matrix sitting’, reported university newspaper TU Delta. During this initiation event, aspiring members sit behind each other in long lines with their heads down. She had already fainted on several occasions, after which she was diagnosed with dehydration and low salt levels. Her doctor advised her not to take part in the ‘matrix sitting’.
First Aid armband
According to the university, the incident could have been avoided. The girl was wearing a First Aid armband, so that older students could have seen that she was vulnerable. However, most of them were drunk and they removed her armband. She therefore did take part.
The concussion that the student suffered had serious consequences for her studies. She was unable to study during the first months and it was only in February that she was able to embark on her studies half time. Nevertheless, she does not want to prosecute Virgiel.
The executive board of TU Delft has decided that the association is not welcome in September during the introduction week where student associations normally recruit their new members. The university will also withdraw its bursary funding from Virgiel for the next academic year.
Two more incidents
The association is also blamed for not cooperating satisfactorily in an investigation. Furthermore, it appears that Virgiel did not report two previous incidents.
The university has ordered Virgiel to come up with a plan before 1 August to keep the risks under control during the initiation ceremonies. If Virgiel is not successful, the association may be barred from taking part in the introduction week in future too, and further financial subsidies may be withheld.