Birmingham hockey banned from sports night after players say initiations are harming their mental health

A survey showed hockey initiations had caused mental health issues


The University of Birmingham Hockey Club have been banned from attending sports night following a survey showing initiations had a negative impact on members' mental health.

UB Sport have confirmed the hockey club have been investigated and punished for a breach of the Guild's Social policy.

The hockey club's committee have distanced themselves from behaviour within the club, and promised to "address the issue."

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The survey was carried out by the Guild of Students and UoB's Mental Health and Wellbeing Society (MHAWBS), and showed that initiations done by multiple sports teams at UoB led to mental health issues and a reduced number of people joining UoB’s top teams.

Whilst the response was, on the whole, "incredibly positive", MHAWBS felt "some responses were too severe to ignore and once seen by UBSport was taken up by them."

The Guild's Sports Officer, Simon Price, who worked on producing the survey, told The Birmingham Tab the responses detailed "upsetting" reports of "incidents that were deemed inappropriate and have consequently been addressed by UBSport and the Guild."

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One member of the hockey club explained the club are under investigation, banned from the Guild, and not allowed fresher/senior differentiation. Speaking to The Birmingham Tab, they said: "We're under investigation as a club stemming primarily from initiations."

Pointing out that the survey had produced results about clubs other than hockey, they said:"The areas they're looking at fall under the categories of bullying and sexual harassment. ie, making freshers '10' (get with each other for 10 seconds) and forcing them to do things that make them feel uncomfortable and targeted. It's been going on for years."

The University of Birmingham Hockey Club told The Birmingham Tab they are taking the issue seriously and have put solutions in place. However, they would not directly comment on the questions of when they'll be allowed back to sports night, or whether they will stop making freshers do initiation activities.

In a statement, they said: "As a committee we do not condone the behaviour which has been going on, and we are working with UoB AU to address the issues.

"As a club we are taking this very seriously and have put a number of solutions in place, we are working together with the university to address these issues."

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UB sport confirmed there was an investigation, and the club had been punished. A spokesperson told The Birmingham Tab: "The University of Birmingham has clear policies, support and training in place for student sports clubs that aim to avoid anti-social behaviour during social events.

"Club Committees are made fully aware by accepting a code of conduct and declaration form stating that pressured environments involving excessive alcohol consumption and other potentially unsafe or unreasonable behaviour are not tolerated under any circumstance, and will have serious repercussions if they do take place within clubs.

"Reports of a breach of the Social Policy have been investigated and appropriate actions put in place as a result. The University of Birmingham strongly believes in the inclusivity of sport, as well as the positive effect it should have on wellbeing, and there is no place for anti-social behaviour in our clubs. "

Other sports teams at the university are currently under investigation and the Guild are working to prevent any further unacceptable behaviour in the future.

There is no suggestion the people pictured are directly involved in the incidents or initiations.

Has your initiation gone too far? Are your sports team making you feel uncomfortable? We want to hear about it. Message The Tab Birmingham on Facebook or email [email protected] confidentially.