Following the broadcast of the Rambam TV show that revealed abuse had occurred during RSC/RVSV’s hazing activities, the society, which had previously admitted to some wrongdoing, accused the TV makers of presenting facts that were not always true. Last Thursday night’s broadcast should have resulted in more light being shed on the accusations. Instead, it resulted in an even worse game of ‘Yes, you did’ versus ‘No, we didn’t’.
In the Rambam episode broadcast last Thursday, undercover students pretending to be prospective society members took part in hazing activities organised by RSC/RVSV, equipped with hidden cameras. And where fake student Anne left RVSV’s all-female camping event (male and female prospective members were segregated for the most part) prematurely because she feared she would like the society so much that she would not be able to leave it, her male colleague Jos had a different experience.
In the TV show, the would-be first-year student told stories about the by-now infamous shower ritual during which prospective members were told to inspect each other’s anuses for ticks and ‘people stepped on other people’s heads’. Jos’s most notable story was about a participant who had allegedly received a slap in the face. The slap would have caused the fresher to fall backwards and hit his head against a bollard, sustaining a head wound or even a concussion in the process.
There was just one problem with the story, which was Jos’s being the only undercover student who did not have a hidden camera on him. Furthermore, the story was hearsay. And according to Maxime Guinchard, the student involved, the story is plain wrong. In a statement published on Quote’s website, he explained that he had sustained the head wound before the hazing activities had actually commenced.
The student, who is no longer an RSC member, said that it was true that bandages had been applied to his face during the period in which the hazing activities took place, but only because his sutures had been removed and regular plasters would not stick. On the same day, another student was taken to hospital, but according to Guinchard, this was because said student had fainted. He noted that the student who had fainted was allowed to return to the hazing rituals the next day.
Grist to RSC/RVSV’s mill
Needless to say, this was grist to RSC/RVSV President Tobias de Lange’s mill. He repeated once again that Rambam’s show was based on ‘incorrect facts and nonsense’. For their part, Rambam’s editors announced in a tweet that they stand behind Jos and the rest of their show. The show’s editor-in-chief told Quote: “We stand behind the broadcast. Our undercover student really did experience things differently. It is now being turned into a game of ‘Yes, you did’ versus ‘No, we didn’t’.”
Nonsense or not, judging from an internal e-mail by club pres De Lange, the society is actually taking steps to ‘say goodbye to aspects we are less proud of’ (De Lange’s words). An e-mail letterbox has been opened where members can anonymously share their opinions, ideas or comments. In addition, RSC/RVSV will soon hire ‘an external agency that will provide the society with professional supervision in our attempt to change our culture’.