Health and safety alert: university grounds mortarboard throwing


The tradition of throwing a mortarboard into the air after graduation has been scrapped by a university because of health and safety concerns, according to a student newspaper.

The University of East Anglia in Norwich said a number of graduates had been hurt by falling hats in recent years, which gave rise to "avoidable injury", according to a statement published in student newspaper The Tab.

But students could have a mortarboard added digitally to photographs afterwards - for £8.

Instructions sent by Penguin Photography to third and fourth-year law students at the university urged graduates to "mime" the throwing action instead, The Tab said.

"As well as being safer, this will have the added advantage that even more of the students' faces will be seen in this photograph," the photography company said.

Louisa Baldwin, the Law Society president at UAE, told The Norwich Tab: "If I've paid £45 to hire a bit of cloth and card for the day I should be able to chuck my hat in the air!

"It's nothing worse than the weekly ritual of dodging VKs as they're lobbed across the LCR dance floor."

The university told the student newspaper that the throwing of 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.

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

The university said the ban had been agreed by academic dress suppliers which often received "damaged mortarboards" after graduations.