No clear definition of ‘hazing’

‘We’re ending hazing in this city’, said RUG president Sibrand Poppema last Thursday. But what exactly constitutes hazing? What is it that the university wants to forbid?
By Peter Keizer / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

Student associations have to end hazing, Poppema said last Thursday during a University Council meeting. This was his tough response to the incidents at student association Vindicat, which came at the insistence of education minister Bussemaker. ‘And you know what we mean by hazing’, he told the University Council members and the media.

But is that true? ‘There is no concrete definition of hazing’, RUG spokesperson Gernant Deekens admits. Poppema expounded on it a little bit on Thursday. ‘We want to get rid of the power imbalance’, he said. And: ‘We want to get rid of inequality. We want senior members to help the junior members and not humiliate them before they’re allowed to join.’


According to Deekens, it mainly concerns situations during the orientation period where students are exposed to inequality, abuse of power, unsafe conditions, psychological or physical violence and oppression. ‘That amounts to unwanted and unhealthy situations. Poppema considers these to be examples of hazing rather than orientation. He also condemned the nondisclosure agreements, saying that they were the first thing that had to go as quickly as possible.’

Together with the municipality, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences and student association Vindicat, the RUG will create a committee that has to see to it that associations stop hazing. According to Vindicat, the association’s board, together with the university and the municipality, will tackle who will have a seat in the committee and what this committee should exactly be doing.


04 October 2016 | 12-10-2016, 11:04