What are initiations?
“Any activities expected of someone joining a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses or endangers, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate”. Hoover & Pollard (1999)
Initiations (sometimes known as hazing or ragging), are events organised by student groups, societies or sports teams, where students are coerced into behaviours which are disrespectful, humiliating and could potentially be dangerous, often under the guise of team or social bonding.
Initiations often encourage:
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol very quickly. There is a direct correlation between drinking excessive amounts alcohol in a short space of time and risk of death.
- The committing of criminal acts
- Behaviour which might reasonably be perceived as humiliating, demeaning or degrading
- Actions which would bring the University into disrepute
Initiations are not acceptable at Newcastle University and those involved will be subject to investigation.
Report anonymously to the University
Our online Report and Support Tool enables students and colleagues to report concerns about harassment, sexual violence or hate crime anonymously. Whether you experienced this directly, witnessed an incident, or heard through a third party, our report and support tool will record the incident and inform our preventative work. Our community is an environment where prejudice and socially unacceptable behaviour are never tolerated.
Ask the University to take action
For Students: If you would like to report concerns about initiations, hazing, or ragging, you can discuss this with the Student Progress Casework Team. You can email them directly via Casework@ncl.ac.uk and with your consent and cooperation, they will initiate the appropriate complaint or disciplinary processes.
For Colleagues: If you are a Newcastle University colleague and have experienced, witnessed or heard about initiations, hazing, or ragging and wish to formally report it, you can do so by raising your concerns with your line manager in the first instance. If you do not feel this reporting mechanism is appropriate, you can speak to another manager or your local People Service Advisor (click here for a list of contacts). Alternatively, you can follow our grievance procedure (click here for more information). All complaints will be taken extremely seriously and investigated in line with our colleague policies and procedures.
What can you do if you or someone you know is at immediate risk because of an initiation?
If someone is in immediate danger or is seriously injured:
Call 999 and ask for the appropriate responders.
Additionally, if you are on Newcastle University Campus, inform Newcastle University Security about what has happened using the Safe Zone app or by calling 0191 208 6666.
If you are supporting a survivor of an initiation, it is important that you take care of yourself and support for you is available via the services detailed below:
- PGR’s and PGT’s can receive support from our 24/7 PG Support Service 24/7 PG Support Service
- All students can receive support from the University’s Counselling Services Counselling Services
- Staff can access help via the Employee Assistance Programme Employee Assistance Programme
Students who are asked to participate in an initiation by the Society or Club that they have joined to gain status or entry to the group, should report this to the Students' Union Activities Officer
Upon receipt of a report that a student or a group of students have participated in an initiation ceremony, the University will take appropriate action in accordance with the Student Disciplinary Procedure.