Hazing News

Hazing in Madrid: sordid and disgusting

Here is the link to El Pais story and video


Madrid’s Complutense University has launched its annual anti-hazing campaign this September together with the local police and city authorities. Other universities are trying alternative methods in a bid to phase out the practice. Salamanca University, for example, has opened an anti-hazing meeting point for the first time, where established students help the newcomers. “They feel more comfortable with one another,” says the vice-rector Ana Belén Ríos. “That’s the key.”

Extremadura University, meanwhile, has launched its first campaign with a focus on sexual harassment and food waste, in a nod to rituals involving coating newcomers in products such as flour.

“The phrase ‘the freshman is not a snitch’ still carries weight,” says Loreto González-Dopeso who insists that a lack of reported incidents doesn’t mean they are not happening.

For example, José (not his real name), the father of a former student in Madrid who moved after a year of being shunned by his classmates, says that he would have liked to have reported what was happening to his son but refrained for fear of making his life even worse.

Meanwhile, Lucas (also an assumed name), who used to live at the Covarrubias student residence, says that although he was humiliated, he was never the one making others suffer. “They were the typical macho guys who enjoy bullying the weakest,” he says. “The worst they did was make me eat my own vomit mixed with soup. If you have never been through it, it’s hard to understand why we don’t say no. It seems easy from the outside, but when you are part of it, you feel you have no choice.”

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska 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 current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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