Groningen fraternity member gets community service for initiation ritual violence

Groningen University’s main admin building. Photo:

A 24-year-old member of an undergraduate society in Groningen has been given 240 hours community service for his role in an initiation ceremony that left a fellow student with a serious head injury.

Wouter B was also given a 31 day jail term, 30 days suspended by judges in Groningen.

The public prosecution service launched an investigation in October last year after an applicant to Groningen’s Vindicat fraternity allegedly had his head stamped on during the hazing ritual.

The incident prompted calls for initiation rituals at Dutch university societies to be better monitored or banned. Three Amsterdam students ended up in hospital two years ago after swimming in canals or sleeping rough among the bins in order to join a society.

The victim of the incident in Groningen initially declined to report the matter to the police because the society wanted to deal with it through its own disciplinary procedures.

But following an intervention by the city’s mayor Peter den Oudsten complaints were filed and a criminal investigation was launched.

Vindicat has since deleted a clause in its constitution that forbids members from speaking out about the initiation rituals under threat of a €25,000 fine.