The Mancunion

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UEA bans mortarboard throwing at graduation

Citing safety reasons as well as concern that many were returned to the dress suppliers damaged, the University of East Anglia has banned hat-throwing at graduation

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Students at the University of East Anglia have been instructed to mime the traditional cap-throwing at graduation ceremonies following “a number of injuries” by falling hats.

Soon-to-be-graduates received guidance from a photography company about miming the throw, letting them know the hats could be digitally added later—for an extra cost of £8.

Health and safety concerns prompted UEA to issue the ban on throwing hats, though the guidance also gave encouragement that “this will have the added advantage that even more of the students’ faces will be seen in this photograph.”

A university spokesperson described that falling hats posed an “unacceptable risk”.

“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,” she said.

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

“This has been agreed by our academic dress suppliers who often receive back damaged mortarboards, and our photographers.”

After law students were originally contacted by letting them know that hurling their caps was banned, the university confirmed that it would apply to all graduands this year.

  • Its funny how much a story like this one can get so much media coverage. I looked this up on the UEA website too (see https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/media-room/latest-news/statements/-/asset_publisher/sM2Ps0KfWwRQ/content/uea-statement-on-mortarboards-18-may-2016) and as you might expect the actual story is quite different to the headline:

    “UEA has not introduced a policy banning the throwing of mortarboards – we have simply asked our photography supplier not to encourage it during large group sessions.

    We have taken this step because in each of the last two years students have suffered facial injuries. Last year a student needed treatment in A&E.

    If individuals or small groups want to throw their mortarboards they can but we don’t think doing it in groups of around 250 students is sensible.”