The father of a 20-year-old student who died after drinking excessively during an initiation event has said his family have been left “utterly underwhelmed” by Newcastle University’s response to the tragedy.
Ed Farmer, a first-year economics student at the university, died following an Agricultural Society event in December 2016.
He was found unresponsive in a hallway following the outing, which involved attendees drinking vodka from a pig’s head, bobbing apples from a bucket of urine and having their heads shaved, an inquest heard.
A PROMISING student, who took part in an ‘initiation-style’ drinking session, died from the toxic effects of alcohol and a lack of awareness of the risks involved, a coroner has ruled.
Ed Farmer took part in the ‘drink-fuelled’ event for Newcastle University’s agricultural society, which saw participants drink vodka from a pig’s head, bob for apples in a bucket of urine and have their heads shaved.
The economics student, 20, was one of about 20 first-years at the event, with witnesses telling how ‘older students’ ordered a round of 100 triple vodkas during a bar crawl.
Mr Farmer, from Leicester, collapsed at the home of society chairman James Carr and was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary where he died on December 13, 2016.
Father of student who died of excessive alcohol at initiation event utterly underwhelmed by Newcastle University response
During a four-day inquest, coroner Karen Dilks heard how excess alcohol had caused Mr Farmer to suffer a cardiac arrest, prompting brain damage and his death. She noted he had been ‘nervous’ about attending.
Family slam Newcastle university over deadly initiation ceremonies after students death
Outside the hearing, Mr Farmer’s father Jeremy said they were left ‘utterly underwhelmed and frustrated’ by the apparent inactivity of Newcastle University and its student union to get to the heart of the problem of such initiations.
He said: ‘Ed’s is not the first utterly needless and wasteful death to come about through this potentially fatal practice.’
Ed Farmer inquest: Student died from toxic effects of alcohol
Mr Farmer added they found it painful to learn about the ‘complete lack of understanding’ by the student organisers.
Dr John Hogan, the university’s registrar, said Ed’s death was ‘a great tragedy’ and expressed ‘deepest sorrow about the loss of a young man of such potential, who surely had a bright future ahead of him’.
The university had ‘made a number of changes to the way we raise awareness among our students about the risks of alcohol’ and had taken action against some found to be in breach of its rules, Dr Hogan added.