Universities clamping down on freshers' week hedonism

Students starting university this term could find hedonism is no longer on the curriculum for freshers' week.

Monday, 19th September 2016, 2:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 2:02 pm

The traditional drink-fuelled partying and outrageous behaviour often associated with initiation into university life looks likely to become a thing of the past.

Many of the country’s top educational establishments are clamping down with workshops warning of the dangers of drugs and alcohol and raising awareness about racism, sexual harassment and religious intolerance.

It comes in the wake of an inquiry launched by former Business Secretary Sajid Javid last year into sexual harassment on campus and a litany of complaints about anti-semitism and other “hate crimes” among students.

The move has been welcomed by the National Union of Students (NUS), which claims it won’t curb fun on campus.

But one academic has branded it “social engineering spiralling out of control”.

An NUS spokesperson said: “All universities do a lot of different things to make sure students are safe on campus. We would support the idea of workshops. Talking about things like sexual consent wouldn’t be stopping anybody from having fun.”

However, university’s professor of sociology Frank Furedi said the workshops were an exercise in social engineering.

He said: “This is an attempt to re-socialise young people with values that are alien to their background… Freshers’ week used to be about drinking and socialising. That was student fun.”

The inquiry, set up by Sajid Javid, is expected to publish its report next month outlining ways to tackle student behaviour using workshops and briefing packs for freshers.

In the meantime, Public Health England (PHE) has issued its own warning to students advising all 17 and 18-year-olds to get vaccinated against meningitis.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said: “We’ve introduced this vaccine because of a rapid increase in cases of Men W across England, with new students particularly at risk.

“This vaccination is highly effective and can save lives and prevent devastating, lifelong disability.”