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Revealed: 'Ragging' at Cambridge University

world Updated: Feb 08, 2009 16:06 IST

In what could be described as the outer limits of ragging, students are often initiated into Cambridge University by being asked to drink water containing a live goldfish, eat raw squids and wear kippers around necks.

According to student newspaper 'Varsity', the tests, organised by sport and drinking clubs for first years, usually involve excessive amounts of alcohol and can include carrying out degrading and depraved acts often by female students.

In fact, the "ordeal" involves a "meal" consisting of over 15 courses, specially prepared for those to be initiated, and many of the rituals are carried out shirtless because they often involve vomiting.

"... The first ten courses are served without alcohol, and include such questionable delicacies as a pig's snout with with wasabi sauce, and a pint of water with a live goldfish; a dish, if regurgitated with the said creature still alive, it exempts the diner from two of the following courses," it said.

According to the newspaper, the latest initiation took place last week and featured raw leeks, whole, uncooked squids and entire chillies. The four prospective members were then adorned with kippers around their necks and doused in treacle.

At the end of the trial, they had to down four "dirty" pints in three minutes, each containing foods, spices and some foreign liquids, spurred on by yells from onlookers of "down it, down it!"

Those students taking part in the Ferretz, an inter- collegiate drinking society, must consume 80 units on their initiation, beginning with a bottle of gin and finishing off with a bottle of port, consumed through a condom.

Many female societies at the university initiation prefer to set tasks which involve the member-to-be standing on a chair, lowering her tights while an existing member dipping her fingers in wine and simulating digital penetration.

But, while most initiations will end in little more than a embarrassment or a severe hangover the next day, some have become tragic.

"One 18-year-old student at Exeter University died after taking part in a golf initiation ceremony in 2006, and another died in 2003 after choking on his own vomit," the newspaper said.