Student society L.A.N.X. has suspended its Amsterdam chapter Ares for setting first-years “extremely inappropriate” and “degrading” tasks during a hazing ritual in Bucharest in November last year.
Aspiring members of Ares, whose 1,100 members make it the second biggest student association in Amsterdam, were told they could earn points by executing tasks from a list, including having sex in an alley with “a bucket” – a denigrating term for a woman – and “organising a refugee” for sex.
The activities, 80 in total, were specified under categories such as “general” and “ladies and sex-related”, L.A.N.X said in a letter to members and alumni members.
The students were not allowed to have any contact with the outside world during their stay and their activities on social media were monitored. Students who failed to earn points were sanctioned.
L.A.N.X. started an investigation into the incident when confronted with the list by weekly publication the Groene Amsterdammer. It claimed in its letter it had been “lied to” by Ares about the nature of the activities which it would “never have condoned”. The students did not execute all the activities on the list, L.A.N.X. chair Tom Brink told broadcaster NOS.
Ares has been suspended indefinitely and excluded from participating in the introduction week for first-year students this year. This means the association will not be able to recruit new members.
The association has since apologised to L.A.N.X saying “we recognise we have gone too far and apologise. We realise that our actions will cause you discomfort and disappointment. We are aiming for a positive and inclusive environment and are working on concrete plans to make this happen”.
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema has since released a statement in which she said she was informed of the events by L.A.N.X last week and will be talking to the society about what it intends to do to prevent “this type of abuse in the future and what other sanctions it will issue to the chapter in question”. She said student societies “obviously still have a long way to go”.
The incident in Romania is the latest in a series of student association related scandals. Last year student society ASC/AVSV hit the headlines when members made sexist remarks at an anniversary dinner, prompting Halsema to issue it an ultimatum to follow the law or be shut down.
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