Stijn van Gils

Totalitarian peace

Not all students are darlings, even in Wageningen. The fact that I regularly cannot sleep because our Ceres neighbours have come up with some or other earplug-resistant club track may qualify as insignificant. But clearly even our association members sometimes go too far.
Stijn van Gils

Two years ago, for example, a barman at Argo knocked two members of Ceres to the ground. Unlike the most recent victim in Groningen, neither suffered cerebral edema, though both needed stitches. And at the start of this year a Ceres activity was cancelled because drunken first-year students were walking along the motorway. Wageningen ‘bang lists’ have not yet reached me, but perhaps I am simply not in the loop.

It is quite understandable that here too people are voting to ban initiation rituals – correction, ‘association introduction periods’. What’s more, every activity held by a student association is a potential threat to the carefully constructed image of Wageningen University & Research. In fact, it is admirable that rector magnificus Arthur Mol made only a gentle plea that students be nice to each other.

It is simply the trend not to take risks with young people and their not yet fully grown brains. Falling numbers of primary school pupils are cycling unaccompanied to school – too dangerous. At secondary school countless homework clubs are ready to help reluctant learners progress – otherwise they won’t be accepted onto good courses. Universities, including Wageningen University & Research, are using attendance lists to prevent students missing a lecture – heaven forefend they should fail an exam. Give it a while and we will be living in totalitarian peace. It will be utterly impossible to commit any act of folly and stupidity.

Wonderfully safe, but also spine-chilling. Because if you have never had the chance to really screw up, how can you convince yourself that you can do something really well?

Perhaps I would rather run the risk of ending up on a ‘bang list’.

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