Trinity College 'Hazing' Antics

On the 15th of March The University Times, one of Trinity’s two student papers, reported on an initiation ceremony they witnessed for a society called ‘The Knights of Campanile’.  


The Knights of Campanile are an elite, invite-only Trinity sporting society. It was established in 1926 with an all-male membership of 1,200 present and past students who played sport in the University. A maximum of 50 student members are allowed at one time, according to The University Times.  


Before this article, very little was known to the public about the society. The Irish Times described the organization as “an obscure all-male elite sporting society with mysterious entry procedures and a reputation for alcohol-fueled high-jinks”.  


Ben Arrowsmith, president of the society, held the ceremony in his apartment on the 27th February, according to The University Times. They reported hearing raised voices from outside the building as members were taunted, jeered at, instructed to “bend over”, “get in the shower”, “start whispering insults in each other’s ears” they also heard one member say “HIV is going on your toast tomorrow”. 


Reporters from The University Times also heard groaning, gagging and retching sounds coming from the apartment.  


At the end of January, the same paper reported on the hazing ceremonies that took place by the Dublin University Boat Club (DUBC) in Trinity College. They reported that whipping with bamboo sticks took place during the ceremony, which welcomed its new members. DUBC is also an all-male society. The female rowing equivalent is called Dublin University Ladies Boat Club.  


It is undeniable that all-male sports clubs must exist within universities, as sports teams are primarily divided by gender. However, issues seem to arise when sports societies exist primarily as a “drinking” club and have a small elite membership.  


Hazing culture has been primarily associated with fraternities in the United States. Like societies here, they are social organizations at colleges, however they don’t have one particular hobby that they share and they usually have a common house where some of the members will live.  


In order to combat this issue of hazing in all-male sporting societies some people have come out to say more women need to be allowed and encouraged to join these societies. 


However, female students have reported that they have experienced hazing too, especially in sororities- which are the female equivalent of fraternities. Hazing is illegal in 44 states, however, in a 2008 study titled ‘Hazing in Vie: College students at risk’ 73% of students in fraternities and sororities reported that they experienced hazing in some form or another.  


Although, physical abuse is most often associated with hazing, emotional abuse and bully tactics are also used; which in particular have been reported from females who experienced hazing.  


“I had to listen to one of my pledge sisters talk about how she didn’t like me and how none of the pledge class felt close to me, and it was genuinely the most psychologically shocking experiences of my life” Jessica, a 22-year-old, told Seventeen Magazine when talking about hazing in sororities.