Long ago I investigated hazing in Paris’s elite art schools. I see it is still a horrid practice nowhere near going away.
University hazing rituals – once indelibly associated with Oxbridge drinking societies and US fraternity houses – are no longer exclusively an Anglo-Saxon phenomenon, with French universities increasingly having to crack down on the practice.
For first-year university students, “la rentrée” – the start of the new academic year in France – comes with the promise of a “welcome week”, evenings of organised activities and maybe a weekend trip, all with the putative aim of helping new students integrate into the life of the institution.
But a number of French universities have made headlines in recent years for the dangerous or humiliating initiation ceremonies taking place during these integration periods, despite laws designed to ban the practice.