The capital city’s universities and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences met with 25 student associations to decide on new initiation rules. The rules have been set down in a code of conduct.
Some associations made new members sign a nondisclosure agreement stating that they are not allowed to discuss anything about their hazing, on pain of thousands of euros in fines.
The code of conduct also states that aspiring members cannot be kicked out of initiation just because they refuse to participate in certain activities, Het Parool reports. Students should also be provided with at least two litres of non-alcoholic beverages, three meals, and six hours of sleep a day.
The universities decided the agreements were needed after several incidents during the initiation period last summer. Association members were forced to sleep in the trash and swim in the city’s canal, for example. This landed two students in the hospital.
In Groningen, an accreditation committee was set up in October to assess whether the student associations should do away with their hazing culture. From now on, violence, intimidation, and humiliation are no longer allowed.
Since the 1990s, the RUG has had the Advice Committee Orientation (ACI), which makes deals with the associations about, among other things, responsible alcohol consumption, sufficient amounts of sleep (six hours), and reporting incidents that take place during the initiation period. But not all student associations are taking these deals seriously, the ACI concludes.
Student associations Vindicat and Albertus Magnus also make their members sign nondisclosure agreements, with a 25,000 euro fine. Vindicat had previously stated that they were no longer swearing their members to secrecy as of September. The accreditation committee will evaluate this association first.
Albertus Magnus has ignored the RUG’s requests to cooperate in setting up the accreditation committee. The association has set up its own committee which will critically assess its own initiation period. Whether that will include abolishing the nondisclosure agreements, the association will not say.
‘The RUG severely condemns the use of nondisclosure agreements and feels that they symbolise the culture that needs changing. That is something we said last year as well’, says RUG spokesperson Gernant Deekens.