‘Sick’ student pranks stun Spain’s universities

Spain's upmarket halls of residence are calling for an end to hazing rituals like coin-swallowing and using freshmen's mouths as ashtrays, claiming they are leaving students with "deep psychological scars".

'Sick' student pranks stun Spain's universities
"(These pranks) often involve abuse, harassment and humiliation," say Spain’s Residence Halls Association. Photo: YouTube

Three quarters of Spain's halls of residence have signed a petition to put an end to longstanding hazing rituals taking place at the start of every university year.

The high-class institutions are trying to combat the "pact of silence" stopping first year students from speaking up about their potentially traumatic experiences.

"We're very concerned," said the association in a statement.

"(These pranks) often involve abuse, harassment and humiliation."

Hazing practices in Spain’s uni halls include:

– Forcing first year students to spend a night sleeping under a "veteran's" bed.

– Force-feeding students coins, mud, bird seed or dog food

– Undressing the first years and waxing their bodies

– Using the freshmen's hands and mouths as ashtrays

– Sticking a funnel down their mouths and forcing them to drink copious amounts of alcohol

Spain’s halls of residence are already considering adopting stricter punishments like in the case of Valencia University, where offending pranksters are immediately expelled from their accommodation.

In a recent press release, Spain's Residence Halls Association rejected claims by students that the hazing rituals are "harmless and indispensable pranks" that should be treated as a tradition.

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Police probe opened after poster campaign against ‘Islamophobic’ lecturers at French university

The French government condemned on Monday a student protest campaign targeting two university professors accused of Islamophobia, saying it could put the lecturers in danger.

Police probe opened after poster campaign against 'Islamophobic' lecturers at French university
Illustration photo: Justin Tallis/AFP

Student groups plastered posters last week on the walls of a leading political science faculty in Grenoble that likened the professors to “fascists” and named them both in a campaign backed by the UNEF student union.

Junior interior minister Marlene Schiappa said the posters and social media comments recalled the online harassment of French schoolteacher Samuel Paty last October, who was beheaded in public after being denounced online for offending Muslims.

“These are really odious acts after what happened with the decapitation of Samuel Paty who was smeared in the same way on social networks,” she said on the BFM news channel. “We can’t put up with this type of thing.”

“When something is viewed as racist or discriminatory, there’s a hierarchy where you can report these types of issues, which will speak to the professor and take action if anything is proven,” Schiappa said.

Sciences Po university, which runs the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) in Grenoble in eastern France, also condemned the campaign on Monday and has filed a criminal complaint.

An investigation has been opened into slander and property damage after the posters saying “Fascists in our lecture halls. Islamophobia kills” were found on the walls of the faculty.

One of the professors is in charge of a course called “Islam and Muslims in contemporary France” while the other is a lecturer in German who has taught at the faculty for 25 years.