On Monday 5 June, around lunchtime, eyewitnesses saw two JFR members who appeared to be ‘blind drunk’ walking along the path between the G building and the library. After walking unsteadily for a few metres, one of them fell over, whereupon bystanders rushed over to offer water and support. The student was lying on the ground crying, and according to eyewitnesses she said she couldn’t handle drinking so much and that she was one of five members who were told to drink for seven people’s worth of alcohol because two members in her group did not drink at all. Two other JFR members then showed up and told bystanders that everything was under control. Following the incident, the university received three complaints.

‘This has no place on campus’

Enquiries with JFR revealed that the pair were part of JFR’s prospective board for 2023-2024 and had been in the process of taking the traditional ‘campus tour’. This involves new board members visiting other associations on campus to get acquainted. These visits usually come with an assignment. According to JFR, this is usually ‘something related to the discipline of that association’, such as a quiz.

JFR stated that it was not aware that those assignments also require consuming alcohol and it agrees that this ‘has no place on campus’. The chair said that he therefore intends to change the activity. He also denied that alcohol was the sole cause of the condition of the student who fell over. According to him, medical circumstances and the warm weather that day also played a role.

Following the complaints, the university’s student life liaison officer discussed the situation with the chair of JFR. The liaison officer chose not to answer any of EM’s questions, but a university press officer has stated that the conversation was necessary ‘because JFR appeared to be in violation of the code of conduct and campus regulations’. During the conversation, JFR was given a warning. “In the conversation, reflection took place and it was recognised how serious the situation was. It has been agreed that in future the campus tour will take place without any violations of the code of conduct for student associations or campus regulations”, the press officer added. “A tradition of drinking alcohol on campus does not fit with this.”

Unclear rules

The press officer did not clarify exactly which rules had been violated by JFR; with regard to alcohol, the code of conduct only states that the associations must comply with the Alcohol Act. There is nothing in the campus regulations about alcohol consumption. The code of conduct does state that members of associations must not engage in undesirable behaviour, citing aggression, violence, sexual or other transgressive behaviour, bullying, discrimination and unequal treatment as examples.

It is unknown which association ordered the prospective board members to ‘drink seven people’s worth of alcohol’ and whether this association has also been called to account. However, the university says that it will ‘explicitly’ re-emphasise to KORF, the umbrella association of Rotterdam faculty associations, that rituals or traditions involving alcohol cannot take place at any association. “Students should never be coerced or put under any duress when it comes to drinking alcohol or consuming other narcotics.”

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