Amsterdam student association apologizes for years of structural violence
The brutal behavior of student associations when welcoming male newcomers has now been identified by an investigation. There, an Amsterdam student association is the focus of attention, but it is not an isolated case. Investigations by the law firm De Roos & Pen revealed that male prospective members of the Amsterdam student association ASC/AVSV have been exposed to violent rituals from the years 2017 to 2021. In the process, the newcomers were slapped, punched, and kicked, Trouw reported.
The law firm's research also showed that there is no student association in the Netherlands that did not use structural physical violence during the hazing of newcomers. This also left its mark on the prospective members, who either had minor injuries afterward, such as bruises, or a concussion. In 2017, for instance, a member candidate filed a complaint after having his tooth knocked out.
In addition to physical injuries, aspirants were exposed to other transgressive conditions and activities, such as sleep deprivation, lack of hygiene and food, and sexually directed behavior that could lead to assaultive behavior.
In a letter to the members, the association apologized for the systematic violence of recent years, Trouw reported. “The scale, seriousness, and nature of the many cases of abuse have shocked us. We would like to apologize to everyone who has suffered from the introduction time of our association in previous years. It is clear that our association culture was rotten.” The association also apologized to parents, 'whose trust we have sometimes seriously damaged".
The student association commissioned the law firm's investigation itself after six fraternities came under criticism in 2021 for their questionable initiation of newcomers. Since then, the ASC/AVSV has been trying to offer newcomers more protection and change the culture of student associations for the better, the newspaper wrote.
However, ASC/AVS does not know how many of the candidates were actually injured. That's because the investigation had "no raw data on numbers of injuries and hospitalizations," said the student association.