Burned by peers, student reports sadistic university hazing to police

After older students intentionally burned her arm with candle wax as part of a hazing ritual, a freshman university student has gone to police with a criminal complaint.

The female student, whose identity was withheld, said yesterday several older students, or roon pee, burned her with candle wax during a “welcoming ceremony” on Sept. 4. at Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University as part of her faculty’s rub nong, or hazing, tradition.

Photos of her badly burned arms have been heavily debated online this past week and drawn the public’s attention to her story.

The victim added her roon pee did not tell her what would happen in the so-called welcoming ritual, but she just saw other freshmen crying as they walked out of the ceremony.

While such ceremonies are not mandatory, not participating carries a fear of being socially excluded, blacklisted or literally “banned” by other students, which usually forces freshmen to participate.

An anonymous third-year student admitted to the university’s newspaper that the “candle burning tradition” has been a freshmen welcoming ritual for many years which every student has gone through.

“There were many upperclassmen (in the ceremony),” the third-year student said. “They each put one-to-two drops of hot candle wax on the freshmen’s arms. When my friends and I were freshmen, we had to go through it too.

He said precautions are taken, and the student’s arms appeared burnt more than usual.

“There was first aid available for the freshmen,” he said. “The sensitivity of everyone’s skin is different, and she is the only one with severe reactions. Seems like her parents are going to take action.”

Meanwhile, the faculty members seem to be well-aware of the inhumane tradition as the dean of the Faculty of Industrial Technology, where the ceremony was hosted, claimed the skin-burning incident should not be considered hazing in anyway.

“The online media is presenting one side of the story and has caused a misunderstanding,” Asst. Prof. Dr. Prungsak Attaput said. “The incident was not considered a rub nong activity. It was merely a welcoming ritual. I insist that no violence occurred during the ceremony.”

Still, the pictures are worth a thousand, painful-looking words.

A group of roon pee who were implicated each received a letter of reprimand from the university and were made to apologize to the freshman in question.

The faculty said it will make sure the incident does not happen again

Photos: Aut Tra Pon

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