That is what the board of the student society’s alumni association, the Vereniging van Reünisten, writes in a letter addressed to other former members. The letter is in possession of the Volkskrant, which reported on Friday that a number of new prospective members were wounded.
The alumni are particularly critical of the role of the member societies (disputen) and what goes on behind closed doors: “Those who organised these initiation ceremonies, which obviously involved abusive behaviour, are very adept at completely twisting the facts to appeal to the senate and their own alumni”, excerpts of the letter printed in the Volkskrant reads.
“They continue to put up a wall of denial, and to trivialise it, even when there are visible injuries and freshers have stated that violence was involved. In our opinion, there is really something wrong with a number of both male and female students who seem to think it’s normal that the short initiation period should include extreme humiliation, kicking and hitting.”
After the article was published in the Volkskrant, the board of the student association (the senate) admitted that it had received reports of transgressive behaviour and called an immediate halt to introductory initiation activities. According to rector Jack Koopman, they are investigating exactly what happened.
The University of Amsterdam, VU Amsterdam and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences will enter into discussions with the student association’s senate this week in order to decide whether sanctions are appropriate.
In 2018, scholarships for student board members of the student society Vindicat in Groningen were withdrawn because the society had failed to report a new incident of violence to the University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences.
A year earlier, the same happened at the Rotterdam counterpart RSC/RVSV. Television programme Rambam went undercover at the hazing of the men and reported, among other things, an incident with a head wound. The university severed all ties with the student society because of the transgressive behaviour and the club promised a ‘drastic culture change’. Over a year later, the ties were re-established and the association got the board grants back.