A video showcasing a series of demeaning hazing rituals undertaken by freshers at the University of Newcastle has been released by advocacy group End Rape On Campus, in an attempt to combat the degrading and harmful initiation practices.
The clip, first published yesterday on News.com.au, shows male students of the Evatt House residential college participating in a series of disturbing practices. In one sequence, male students can be seen pouring beer down their exposed penises, while other kneeling students are encouraged to drink it.
Other instances show students drinking vomit as part of extreme drinking games, and donning dog collars to drink from water bowls left outside shopfronts. The footage, spanning from 2012 to 2016, is thought to have been shot at various ‘Lad’s Weekends’ in Melbourne.
Speaking to Fairfax Media, End Rape On Campus’ Nina Funnell said that while some students aren’t strictly forced to partake in the initiation rituals, the societal pressure for new university students to conform in a new and potentially confronting environment is still considerable.
“It’s very much embedded as part of the culture and there’s an expectation that people participate,” Funnell said of the kind of rituals shown in the video.
The problem isn’t isolated to the acts themselves: there is serious concern the pressure to drink to excess, and boundary-pushing nature of certain rites, could contribute to a higher prevalence of sexual assaults among the student body.
In response, a University of Newcastle spokesperson said “the university takes all allegations of student misconduct seriously and act swiftly to remove offensive behaviour from our campuses where it is reported.”
Funnell said the video came as part of a two-month investigation into the culture of hazing at Australia’s universities, and that subsequent reports will be released to coincide with the orientation weeks of other tertiary institutions.
While the University of Newcastle’s O-week began on Monday, Evatt House’s ‘Lad’s Weekend’ reportedly takes place later in the semester. It’s yet to be seen if the report and rising public sentiment against the hazing rituals will have an impact on any initiation activities.