– Undercover Exeposé cameras reveal EUAFC ‘Welcome Drinks’ scandal
– Initiation-style event breaks AU code of conduct on Uni premises
– Freshers intimidated, forced to drink alcohol and kiss dead eel
An undercover Exeposé investigation has revealed an AU club conducted an initiation-style ceremony at a University-owned establishment during Freshers’ Week.
The event, held at Cross Keys Bar on St. Luke’s campus and captured by an undercover reporter’s hidden camera, appears to breach the AU’s code of conduct on multiple counts.
On Wednesday 17 September, The University of Exeter Athletic Football Club (EUAFC) held their annual ‘Welcome Drinks,’ where first years were forced to drink pints loaded with shots, tell sordid confessions about their sexual history and kiss a dead conger eel named Colin.
Upon arriving at the venue, first years were told to purchase drinks from the bar and sit on the floor, surrounded by ‘returners’ in an intimidating fashion.
Members of EUAFC initially remained silent in the darkened room, before repeatedly shouting, chanting, mocking and swearing at around 80 freshers, who looked visibly scared. First years were forced to ‘bolt’ full pints, drink out of a shoe, put their tongue in an eel’s mouth and divulge sexual secrets to a room of complete strangers.
The club’s Social Secretary is caught on camera saying: “my name is Josh Hammond, I’m your Social Sec, and you are all going to do exactly what I say.”
Alongside other committee members, he led the proceedings, enforcing punishments for forgetting to ‘EG,’ using mobile phones, spilling drinks and not possessing a joker from a pack of cards. At one point he instructs first years: “you spill a drink on the fucking floor, you don’t waste alcohol in this club, you’re going to pour another pint into your fucking shoe and drink out of it.”
Hammond also goads one particular first year who consistently forgets to ‘EG’ – a practice involving tapping an empty glass to your chest – shouting: “have you learnt what an EG is yet? Well, you’re in fucking big trouble,” later adding: “if you throw up that’s good…You drink, you empty your stomach and you drink more.”
Unaware that Exeposé had obtained footage of the event, Hammond responded to a description of the events by claiming: “it is all wrong! We didn’t make first years do anything that (sic) didn’t want to do. They were never forced to drink or kiss an eel, I showed them an eel called Colin and some asked if they could kiss him whilst others followed suit.
“This story has so many incorrect facts and is purely ridiculous. You’ve clearly got this info from people word of mouth (sic). Your story has so many issues with it that it has very little truth.”
His denial contradicts both the footage and an earlier statement from the Club Captain, which read: “first years knew that they’d be drinking alcohol at the ‘Welcome Drinks,’ no one was forced to attend and the event was in no way an initiation into the club.
“Drinking out of a shoe if a drink is spilled is not unique to the football club, it’s something which almost all clubs and societies enforce. We asked the first years to introduce themselves and part of this was a confession… If they didn’t want to tell a confession they could tell a joke. Some first years may have felt that the atmosphere was coercive when having to do the introductions, however after the introductions were finished the atmosphere became a lot more relaxed.”
When asked about forced drinking at socials, he said: “we have a very specific set of rules and as long as freshers follow the rules they don’t have to drink.” He also confirmed that the club conduct initiations but claimed they “don’t involve drinking.”
The club tweeted a menacing picture from the venue prior to the event, which was captioned ‘Welcome Drinks.’
After the committee had introduced themselves and each ‘downed’ a pint, including the first team and Club Captains, first years were told to stand up one by one and tell the room how many girls they had slept with, as well as making a confession. These confessions were either jeered or cheered depending on their vulgarity. This was followed by the freshers drinking another pint, this time with shots of rum in.
The staff at the location, which has held the event for at least three years, facilitated the event, providing trays of shots to reduce queuing time.
Exeposé were unable to contact the venue for comment but a St. Luke’s staff member confirmed that staff are hired by The University for private functions at the venue.
It is widely believed that similar ceremonies are commonplace at some AU clubs, and it is thought that football are far from the worst offenders and that formal initiations are far more lurid.
The practice of initiations is banned by the AU, after a golf club member died at an event eight years ago.
The University and AU issued a joint statement which read: “we take the health and wellbeing of our students very seriously and have a number of established initiatives to challenge the perception that alcohol is integral to having a good time at university. All AU and Guild Society Committee members undertake alcohol awareness training to promote non-alcohol related social activities for student clubs and societies. We work with venues and agencies on responsible drinking and licensing campaigns, hence all entertainment venues have free drinking water.
“Both The University and the Guild/AU operate strict codes of conduct that clearly prohibit initiation type activities and/or peer pressure to drink excessively at events, and neither condone nor tolerate this type of behaviour. All clubs and societies have signed a code of conduct in which they have agreed to behave responsibly in this regard; if the heads of clubs/ societies are found to be in breach of the code, both the Guild/AU and The University will institute disciplinary proceedings. “This alleged activity seems to be confined to a tiny minority of students, the vast majority of clubs and societies undertake their activities in a responsible, sensible, enjoyable and mature way.”
Kate Hawkins, VP Welfare & Diversity, added: “Initiations or other forms of peer pressure are never OK. We have a very clear code of conduct that all student groups have to sign and if any breaches occur from any Guild group firm action will be taken by us to ensure it never happens again.”
James Beeson, Sports Editor, and Harrison Jones and Gemma Joyce, Editors