Erasmus University decided last Friday that it would stop paying the subsidy RSC/RVSV receives for new students, as well as the grants awarded to the members of the society’s board, effective immediately, due to incidents that took place during the introduction period. In addition, the society will not be allowed to attend formal academic events and the University’s Eureka Week for the time being.
These measures were taken in response to BNN/VARA’s TV show Rambam, which filmed several hazing rituals in the Netherlands with hidden cameras at the start of the current academic year. In the show, which will be broadcast this Thursday, ‘undercover first-year students’ relate stories about several shocking events they witnessed during RSC/RVSV’s introduction period.
For instance, people are alleged to have stepped on other people’s heads, a prospective member is said to have fallen against a bollard following a slap in the face, incurring a head wound or even a concussion in the process, and male first-year students were supposedly forced to check each other’s anuses for ticks while taking showers.
'Stress and fatigue'
Although De Lange was keen to emphasise that his society ‘acknowledges its own failure’, the president also stated that incorrect facts were mentioned in the report. For instance, according to the society, the prospective member who was taken to hospital during a hazing ritual did not lose consciousness because of a slap in the face and the resulting fall backwards, but due to a ‘combination of stress and fatigue.’
The society also claimed that the story that ‘people had stepped on other people’s heads’ was incorrect. “RSC/RVSV has thoroughly investigated this matter, and there is no evidence whatsoever that this happened. We had assessment interviews with all 350 first-year students who took part in the introduction period, and this was not brought up in any interview.”
Having a great time, without any worries
De Lange was unable to confirm or deny the ‘tick incident’ in the showers. “It is true that male prospective members take showers together during the introduction period. And we do advise prospective members to inspect each other for ticks, because the introduction period is held in a wooded area and ticks can be extremely dangerous. Compulsory check-ups of each other’s behinds were not a matter of policy, but we cannot rule out that this order may have been given.”
The society’s statement concluded with a vow that RSC/RVSV considers any form of transgressive behaviour unacceptable. “All members of our society must be able to have a great time, without any worries, and to make friends for life, now as well as one hundred years from now.” In addition, the society promised that freshers will no longer be subjected to any form of physical contact during the 2018 hazing activities ‘and in the years thereafter’.