Hazing News

Hazing in France

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.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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