The parents of a student who attended the camp wrote a letter to the Utrecht Geosciences Society (UAV) in which they expressed their dismay at the “sexism, misogyny and rape fantasies” pervading the songs. Utrecht University’s Faculty of Geosciences was shocked by the allegations and has stopped paying the society’s board members’ grants for the time being, NRC has reported.
UAV has now decided to ban the words ‘whore’ and ‘slut’ from its collection of songs. In addition, the board of the Faculty of Geosciences will have the society examined by an independent party, which is to determine whether in addition to the songs, the society has any other rituals that are deemed unacceptable.
Pending the investigation, UAV’s board members will no longer receive grants from the university, which means that they will have difficulty organising excursions, parties and other activities, says Piet Hoekstra, the Dean of the Faculty. “I think they will have to cancel a lot of activities for now.” He was keen to emphasise that the study society should be ‘a place where everyone feels confident and safe’.
UAV President Marleen Ketelaars says she understands why the faculty board responded the way it did. “We accept the measures that have been taken and it is now up to us to take a good, hard look at ourselves.”
Surely such songs should be expected at a fraternity rather than at a study society which caters to all students attending a certain faculty? Ketelaars admits her society could have been quicker to put a stop to the songs. “The songs have a long tradition and we have never received complaints about our society having a sexist atmosphere before. But obviously, just because something is tradition doesn’t make it right.”
Last month, Utrecht University decided to stop paying grants to the board of the UVSV sorority, following several hazing-related incidents. For its part, Erasmus University implemented similar measures with regard to the RSC/RVSV student society, following humiliating hazing rituals. This was the universities’ response to a report on hazing practices by the Rambam TV show, which has been broadcast on Thursday evening.