Sheffield Uni’s SU President has criticised UEA’s hat throwing ban

By Ben Hall and Nikhil Vekaria

Sheffield University’s Student Union President has branded the decision taken by UEA to ban mortar-board throwing as ‘strange.’

An email sent to third and fourth year law students encouraged them to refrain from doing the traditional hat toss at graduation and to instead mime the action.

The decision has been taken on health and safety grounds and aims to eliminate the chance of injury and damage to the falling mortar-boards.

Floating hats will can then be photoshopped into photos, but will require students to pay an extra cost of £8 for the privilege.

In a statement, a University of East Anglia spokesperson said: “The decision to not have the traditional ‘hat throwing’ photo opportunity for all students this year follows a number of injuries over recent years to graduates hurt by falling mortarboards.

“This is an unacceptable risk and we want to ensure no student’s graduation day is ruined by the potential for avoidable injury”.

The move was branded ‘ridiculous’ by personal injuries lawyers, with Sheffield Student Union President Christy McMorrow who echoed this view.

He said: “Frankly I think it’s a very strangle rule, people throwing their hats is generally just a bit of fun.

“I’ve certainly not heard of any health and safety risks from it in the past, and I can’t see that it’s been particularly enforceable either.”

On the decision to charge for the addition of photoshopped mortar-boards in the photos, McMorrow commented: “Trying to make money out of it is just frankly not in the interests of students, so I certainly can’t see our University doing it and I would be a very bad move if they did.”

Abigail Humphreys, 23, a Masters student at The University of Sheffield, said: “It’s just a joke, it takes all the fun out of graduation which is one of your proudest and most memorable moments as a student.

“If I had paid all that money to attend University and then told I couldn’t even throw a hat in the air at graduation I would have been annoyed, and I can see why the students at East Anglia are not happy.”

James Carson, a 19 year old first year student, added: “The fact that it has been banned is quite incredible.

“I can’t believe someone has complained about it causing injuries, I just can’t fathom how that works.”

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