Family of Newcastle student critical of university over death

Family of Newcastle student critical of university over death

Family of student who died after alcohol-fuelled initiation criticise university

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.

And in 2008, Exeter University banned all student initiation ceremonies after fresher Gavin Britton, 18, took part in a drinking initiation that involved downing a cocktail of shots, followed by pure spirits during a three-hour pub crawl. 

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.

But when asked about the university ban on initiations, students were only vaguely aware of it. You get emails, but I dont think anybody is really going to listen to it – theyd just call them something else, one said.

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.

Mr Farmers family said they had made the “difficult decision” to release the footage in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of such events.

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.

The coroner at Mr Farmers inquest ruled he died as the direct effect of consuming an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time.

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.

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He said: ‘Ed’s is not the first utterly needless and wasteful death to come about through this potentially fatal practice.’

The student, from Leicester, was one of around 30 people to take part in the event in December 2016, which saw participants go on a bar crawl through the city centre, with some of them later having their heads shaved.

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.

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