Hazing News

The root of all university hazing: back in the day

Here is the link

And an excerpt.


FIFTEENTH-CENTURY EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES HAD A problem. Their incoming students were young and unruly, so confident in their own abilities that they did not apply the requisite level of effort in class. So universities instituted hazing requirements; before their education could begin, new students needed to complete humiliating tasks in order to be purged of their pride, gluttony, and other sins.

According to The Medieval Magazine, some of these hazing rituals included becoming a de facto servant to an upperclassman—as at the University of Avignon in France—or paying for other students to go to the baths (which was deemed immoral only when the university faculty weren’t also invited).

But perhaps the strangest and most elaborate of the hazing rituals was Deposition, a practice that predominated with slight variations in both Germany and Sweden beginning in the late 1400s In order to enroll in their chosen universities, students in these countries endured a bizarre series of tests that makes the modern college application process look simple.

The best recorded accounts take place at Uppsala University in Sweden in the 15th and 16th centuries, but the practice existed in most of Germany at the time as well. Details vary slightly, but Deposition seems to have worked like this:

When new students—all of whom were male—arrived at a university, they announced their presence to the dean. Then they waited. Once enough people requested to study at the school, the dean scheduled a Deposition, so that the new students could formally enroll.

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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