Students who take part in degrading initiations could be jailed for torture

‘The defence of, “But I’m a student” would also not stand up in court if matters went that far’

Students could be jailed for torture if they organise or take part in toxic initiations, The Times reports.

Universities UK, the body that represents higher education institutions across the UK, wrote to university leaders to remind them of the potential legal repercussions of hosting initiations.

The letter reads: “As a real-life example which was reported to us, students were unwillingly detained in either houses off-campus or in changing rooms after matches in university facilities until such time as they had consumed either significant quantities of alcohol or other material of a very unpleasant nature. They also had their heads or eyebrows shaved.”

“Following this incident and the investigation into it, a report by the head of security (an ex-police officer) raised the point that false imprisonment carries a maximum jail sentence of 15 years and torture has a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

“The defence of, ‘But I’m a student’ would also not stand up in court if matters went that far.”

The letter adds: “Behaviours such as problem initiations will only serve to exacerbate the poor mental health of many students, risking both their future participation in sport but also their place at university.”

In October, The Tab revealed that Durham University rugby club was being investigated after a male first year student was allegedly urinated on at a social.

Just last month, Edinburgh University SU suspended a rugby team from its intramural league after players were allegedly made to rub hot sauce on their genitals at an ‘initiation’.

Although none of the players were Edinburgh Uni students, they did play in a league hosted by the Students’ Union.

Universities Scotland told The Times: “Degrading initiations have no place in wider society and no place in universities either. There will be serious consequences for the organisers of such initiations.”

Related articles recommended by this writer:

• Durham Uni rugby club facing investigation after fresher gets urinated on at a social

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• UoB rugby freshers made to eat raw chicken liver during social