Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rajamangala University of Technology's Uthen Thawai campus

This just in from The Nation. Read the story here

Campus may call in police on hazing
By Chuleepon Aramned,
Anan Wijitpracha
The Nation
Published on June 10, 2009

Presented with conflicting information on initiation rites that supposedly went overboard, the Rajamangala University of Technology's Uthen Thawai campus is considering seeking police help.

"Police may have better techniques to find out the truth," acting rector Suebpong Muangchu said yesterday.

"Our fact-finding panel has a big headache. While many students have complained about the ceremonies, many others have come out to insist that the ugly things never happened," he said.

The school launched the probe after a student complained to the Pavena Foundation for Children and Women that seniors had forced her to eat ink-stained paper and chillies.

Suebpong said his school slapped more than 100 students with two-semester suspensions last year because none of them identified those responsible.

"In a few days, if we still cannot find the culprits, we will have to turn to police," he said.

Or else the school might have to punish all possible suspects again, he said.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has assigned San Wora-in to head its own investigation.

"We will look into the role of the campus too to check whether it has done enough to try to prevent the improper practice," San said.

The school's administrators have insisted that they had implemented all possible measures but frightening details continue to emerge.

"My son was told to aim a gun at his classmate and to pull the trigger. When he refused, he was beaten up. His pubic hair was also burnt as a punishment," Krissana Tontaen told the HEC panel.

Another unnamed student said 100 of his classmates had already dropped out because they could not stand the pranks any longer.

"The rites have haunted me because I don't know what I have to face each day. Sometimes I was forced to eat chillies and wasabi. On some days, I got hit," he said.

 "I'm glad the panel has promised to enrol us in another institution," he said. "Many of my friends dared not come forward because they're afraid that they won't have a place to study".

Education Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said he expects the HEC panel's report today, and called for hazing complaints to be lodged at hotline number 1579.

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