The Executive Board, and especially rector Rianne Letschert, showed that they were serious: incidents during the freshman period would not be tolerated, and any breach of the Code of Conduct, signed by all parties, would lead to sanctions. Tragos received a formal warning from the Executive Board last year, saying that any further violation would lead to the withdrawal of thirty ‘board months’, approximately 8,000 euro.
In 2016, first-year students suffered a lack of sleep at Tragos, a girl injured her ankle, and others suffered burnt tongues consuming a brew that was too hot.
This was sufficient reason for the conditional sanctions to now be converted into unconditional ones. A UM statement about the matter said that “several conditions” had been violated. When asked, board spokesperson Gert van Doorn wants to say no more than that “the agreements in the Code of Conduct have not been observed”.
He did not specify the nature of the infringements. This is contrary to the policy adopted by rector Letschert last October. In connection with a complaint concerning hazing, she then said: “When it appears that a complaint is justified, we will disclose what has happened and how we have dealt with the matter. One shouldn't be secretive about that kind of thing.” In line with this policy, it was explained where Tragos went wrong last year.
Uncommunicativeness of student associations regarding hazing has become a tradition. Newly appointed Tragos chairperson (the changeover takes place after the hazing period), Anika Pastoors, informed us that she “cannot and will not react”. Nevertheless, Tragos gave something of a clue in a press release on its website. The association “deplores the measure” by the Executive Board, and does not agree with it. According to Tragos, there was no incident whatsoever this year. This is remarkable, because last year, the Tragos board frankly admitted the incidents that led to the warning. Now, however, the UM's version is being “disputed”. The UM’s view that Tragos did not adhere to the agreements “in a few minor points” (Tragos press release), is not being accepted at its headquarters ‘Fort Willem’.
Circumflex chairman, Joris van Wel, does not want to elaborate on the contested events that led to a conditional sanction for his association either. According to him, it concerned “minor violations” of the Code of Conduct, established by SSC director Pascal Breuls, who together with others carried out surprise visits to the hazing events. The Circumflex chairman continues to speak of “good contact with the university”. He didn't want to say anything further: “We will discuss the issues internally. This is nobody else's business.”
Elsewhere in the country, student associations are confronted with stricter university boards too. In Groningen, Vindicat faces a temporary withdrawal of board months after an incident in a sushi restaurant. In Delft, a first-year student suffered a severe concussion during the hazing last year, while she already showed signs of dehydration and a lack of salt, according to university newspaper Delta. Association Virgiel failed to report the incident and was penalised for that fact by the Delft Executive Board this year: no board grants and a ban on presenting themselves during the Delft equivalent of Inkom, a major event for recruiting members.
Finally: just before printing this issue of Observant something emerged through a reliable source: the student associations are said to have broken the rules about personal hygiëne, food and enough sleep. No more details.