Uni investigates Hockey initiation where freshers were fed beer through shin pads

Initiations have been banned at Newcastle Uni since Ed Farmer’s death in 2016

Newcastle University is investigating its Ladies Hockey Club after a video was posted of freshers being fed beer through shin pads in what appears to be an initiation ritual.

The video was circulated by the Hockey Club, before eventually being taken down.

In the video, posted to the Club’s Instagram story with the caption “Welcome to the team freshiess” before being removed, older students are seen feeding alcohol to other players at the side of a road as cars drive past them. Players are subsequently seen pulling away, unable to finish their drink.

A second video also provided viewers with an option to “rate the freshers downing their tinny.” In both videos, members are failing to uphold social distancing measures.

Newcastle University Students’ Union has called the initiation “inappropriate behaviour” and confirmed that the University is investigating the incident.  The purpose of the investigation is to assess whether the students involved in the video have breached policies involving initiations, dangerous behaviours, coercive behaviours and COVID-19 restrictions.

Initiations at Newcastle University have been banned since Ed Farmer died due to excessive alcohol consumption following an Agriculture Society initiation in 2016. As a part of their training, society executives are shown a video concerning what entails an initiation and detailing why they are banned, which specifically refers to Farmer’s death.

Farmer died after an Agric initiation in 2016

A Newcastle University spokesperson said: “We are aware of the video and an investigation has been launched by Newcastle University’s Students’ Union and reported to us through the Student Disciplinary Process. While the investigation is ongoing we cannot comment further on this incident.

“We take our responsibility for the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and local community extremely seriously.

“Our Student Charter, which is signed by all students, makes it very clear that initiations or similar dangerous behaviour is banned and reinforces the importance of sensible drinking. It has also been updated this year to take account of new and additional responsibilities relating to Covid-19.”

Benthe Tanghe, NUSU Athletics Union Sabbatical Officer, said: “We are aware of a video posted on social media that appears to show inappropriate behaviour relating to members of the Newcastle University Ladies Hockey Club and an investigation is under way.

“The safety of our students is of the utmost importance to us, and we will not tolerate any behaviour which puts our students at risk. The investigation will assess if the students breached our policies and procedures regarding initiations, dangerous behaviours, coercive behaviours and Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines. While this investigation is ongoing, we are unable to comment further.”

Newcastle University Ladies Hockey Club has been approached for comment.

Footage of the initiation can be seen on The Newcastle Tab’s Instagram story.

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