Traditional student ‘friendly-fight’ goes awry, descends into hair-pulling

Students going crazy at university are usually depicted in films as gross exaggerations of what actually happens. Not this time, however, with a video surfacing online of a student association in Utrecht, UVSV, visiting Rotterdam student association, RSC/RVSV, where an annual ‘friendly fight’ turned nasty. 

The video shows students wrestling with one another and wrenching each others hair, in the most unfriendly way possible. Saskia van Bergen, vice-president of the Rotterdam student association, told RTL Nieuws she understands for outsiders the images may give the wrong impression.

“Our society committee has intervened as much as possible with some first-year students who went too far, such as pulling their hair,” she said, adding that some students also yelled things that crossed a line for the organisers, although didn’t give a specific example.

Was this hazing?

People have questioned whether the activities shown in the hectic video are a result of hazing, given their violent nature.

Hazing is considered “any action taken or any situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or team, whether new or not, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.”

Watch the student fight in the video below (the video has been blurred to protect identities, but you can still see all the action):

It is a term associated with new university students who must take part in challenges to achieve entry in a university group.

However, the student groups deny that it is a hazing activity. Van Bergen explained to RTL Nieuws that the fight is an annual tradition and is entirely for fun. “The visit usually starts with fighting for a few minutes. Everyone does this voluntarily and it is not about hazing.”

No injuries reported

The student associations say there were no injuries, and it is not as serious as the video depicts it to be. “After the traditional 5 minutes of pushing and pulling, the party was celebrated together in all conviviality”, Van Bergen assures.

What do you think of the video? Hazing or innocent fun? Let us know in the comments below. 

Feature Image: Screenshot/YouTube

Freya Sawbridge
Freya was born in Edinburgh but raised in New Zealand (cue every person she meets saying “oh I have always wanted to go there but it’s so far away!”). A restless and curious nature has led her to move countries 5 times in the last 3 years in attempt to find a place she can call home. She contacted DutchReview on a whim and arrived in the Netherlands in summer 2019 to start her internship.


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