6th November 2023
The Athletic Union (AU) is where students go to showcase their skills, make friends and be involved in something more than just academics. This is especially common at the University of Liverpool, where there are so many sports to choose from. At least it should be. Liverpool Guild Student Media have found that it is in fact a hotbed of hazing. Individuals taking part in hockey have reportedly been forced to drink and faced unfair treatment if they didn’t give in to their teammates.
Hockey especially is rife with pressure. One respondent, who wanted to stay anonymous, stated that this strict culture starts during Fresher’s Week.
You had to do all these rituals, to be able to become part of the ‘in’ club.
If you didn’t have a ‘quad-vod’ a couple of nights before, you were cut from the team or would never make it to play on the pitch.Anonymous
Many of you know that at the University of Liverpool, there are regular drinking socials on Wednesdays for sports societies and hockey is no exception. However, this respondent stated that you essentially had to drink or you could be seen as an outcast socially. This is disappointing to hear, as it implies the team setup is not formed by skills but by popularity and the only way to be seen as a favourite is to keep drinking.
Rules for societies may be seen as standard protocol, especially when it comes to safety or just for fun, to follow a fancy dress theme. However, the rules of the hockey society can be seen as obscure and extreme.
There were also rules anytime you went out with your team: no talking to boys before midnight, no leaving the group to meet other friends, no phones and you must obey every command your senior gives you, even if it’s a drinking or hazing command.Anonymous
No phones seems almost ridiculous and unsafe, considering that many students use them for Ubers or to call a friend when in trouble. Isn’t part of the fun of the night just seeing what happens? Not being told exactly what you can do and who you can talk to.
Those favoured by the hockey club are those who drink the most, even to the point that they’re physically ill. If you don’t follow the rules they’ve set out, they have ritualistic ‘punishments’.
If you failed to follow any rules, then you had to drink or run around Concert Square, then down a pint. By the end of the night, if you didn’t follow enough rules, you were throwing up in the street and going home to stain your bed sheets and toilet with the paint and sharpie on your forehead and usually throwing up till 6am.Anonymous
This is putting students under unfair pressure but seems ironic to encourage athletes to drink. Overall, the women’s hockey society provides an echo of American hazing culture, with pressure and rules, leading to being outcasted if not followed. It is questionable how this is allowed and frustrating that what should be fun is ruined for many.
With a well-known culture like this in the AU, it is off-putting for students who want to be active and involved in sports but who don’t want to be put in dangerous and unhealthy situations. We reached out to Team Sport Liverpool for a statement and they said they would deal with it, “as a matter of urgency”.
We do encourage all of our clubs to involve their members as inclusively and safely as possible. We also provide committee training which includes a position for a social and welfare secretary. We certainly do not support members being pressurised to drink, but if any club fails to adhere to our social code of conduct we will take action.Team Sport Liverpool
Cover image by Pixabay from Pexels.