Sheffield students’ union officers speak out over “dangerous” initiations after coroner’s ruling

Student union officers have reaffirmed their support for the University of Sheffield’s zero-tolerance stance on initiation ceremonies.

This comes after a coroner today ruled that the tragic death of Newcastle University student Ed Farmer in 2016 was caused by the “toxic effects” of consuming excessive alcohol.

He died after an initiation to the University Agriculture Society which involved drinking vodka through a dead pig’s throat.

University of Sheffield’s students’ union education officer, Anna Crump Raiswell, said there was a zero tolerance policy to initiations that involve alcohol.

She added any breaches were taken extremely seriously and social events involving alcohol required the sports team to give the SU prior notice and if they were happening in the Student’s Union itself, five days’ notice for a risk assessment was required.

Ellie Norris, charity volunteering and sports secretary at the University of Sheffield Student’s Union, said: “Some people see initiations as harmless fun and a way to “earn” your right to be in a sports club. The truth is they are usually very unpleasant and can be really dangerous.

“I really support the union’s zero-tolerance policy because, as well as the obvious dangers, I think initiations can be a huge barrier to people wanting to get involved in sport.”

Ed Farmer’s family today called for the practice to be stamped out in the wake of his “utterly needless and wasteful death.”