A Vision investigation, following an anonymous tip off, uncovered evidence of the gruesome initiation, in which students were made to down drinks mixed with dog food and goldfish. Many of the photos discovered were deemed to be too shocking to be shown here.
A video of the initiation, and the majority of the photos of the event that surfaced on the Internet, have now been hastily removed.
The repercussions though have been severe for new UYHC presidents Mark Inman and Laura Pepper, who have found themselves in the middle of a storm of controversy only weeks into their presidency.
In addition to this, ex-UYHC President Rob Newton has angrily described his club as “full of non-professional people”, before going on to say that whilst he takes some of the blame for the incident the new presidents “were responsible for the afternoon’s activities”.
In spite of this Mark Inman has defended the ceremony, which took place on Saturday May 29th, after York Sport President Emily Scott condemned the use of “peer pressure upon individuals in any situation”.
After Vision made Scott aware of the existence of the video last Friday the York Sport President was quick to act, calling a York Sport Committee meeting and swiftly releasing a statement on the YUSU website. The statement denounced the UYHC event and announcing that the club had been fined.
The new UYHC president has come out fighting though, saying: “As far as I am concerned, we have complied with all aspects of the YUSU Social Policy. We do much better than most other clubs on every single point mentioned.”
Those who have seen the video and photos posted last week on Facebook may not be so quick to agree with Inman’s defence of the weekend’s event though.
The hundreds of photos show how a disgusting concoction of dog food, anchovies, gold fish and raw eggs were blended together into drinks that students were forced to down as quickly as possible.
In the two-minute long video, now removed from Facebook, students are seen downing these drinks in front of a frenzied crowd cheering them on, despite their visible physical discomfort. When one student, bowed down and hands on knees, throws up after his drink he is greeted by shouts of “Man Up!”. Another student, unable to stomach finishing his drink, is met with repeated screams of “Eat it! Eat it!”, before eventually pouring the drink over his head.
The reaction around campus has been one of shock, with one student commenting: “I’m astonished that they would do that over here. You only hear of that stuff in fraternities in America.” Another student added: “I didn’t realise that they had these sorts of initiations in York, and I just wonder how willing the students were who took part.” Both students know members of the hockey club, and wished to remain anonymous.
Reflecting on his time as a member of UYHC, ex-hockey President Newton has stated: “Of all the things that I’m going to miss about my time in the hockey club over the last three years, these ‘rituals’ are not amongst them.” He went on to claim that despite last weekend “attitudes are changing” in the Hockey Club.
Meanwhile embattled President Mark Inman was keen to stress that UYHC is inclusive and welcoming, saying: “All socials and any aspects of them are entirely optional and alcohol is never an integral part. This has always been made clear. The welfare of our members is extremely important to us and I believe UYHC to be one of the most socially inclusive clubs on campus. There are numerous members of the club, past and present, who have not participated in anything of this nature and are revered players of teams throughout the club. This is not, and never will be, a requirement.”
Inman’s assurances will do little for the damaged reputation of UYHC though, in a week in which the image of the university’s sports clubs took a severe hit.