UEA bans students from throwing mortarboards at graduation amid health and safety fears

Students traditionally throw their mortarboards in the air at graduation. Photo: PA

Students traditionally throw their mortarboards in the air at graduation. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

The UEA has banned hat-throwing at graduation to avoid students being hurt by falling mortarboards.

News of the decision emerged in an email to law students, telling them they would not be allowed to participate in the tradition this year, but could instead mime throwing a hat and pay £8 to have mortar boards edited into a keepsake photo.

A UEA spokesman said: 'The decision to not have the 'hat throwing' photo opportunity for 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.

'This has been agreed by our academic dress suppliers who often receive back damaged mortarboards, and our photographers.'


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A student ended up in A&E last year after a hat cut their cheek, the spokesman added, and the hat-throwing ban was in response to this.

Other universities, including Anglia Ruskin, have previously introduced similar policies.

The UEA previously hit the headlines when its students union banned sombreros, claiming that they were racist.

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It followed a move by a Mexican-themed restaurant to hand out the free hats at a freshers fair.

The company providing this year's photos, Penguin Photography, said in a statement: 'We normally do two photos - a formal photograph, followed by a mortar board-throwing photograph.

'For this year we were asked by UEA not to do the photo of students throwing their mortar boards in the air, due to safety reasons and at the request of the company that hires out the mortar boards.

'Rather than lose this classic photograph completely, we have offered to continue the mortar board-throwing photograph tradition by offering to photoshop the hats in afterwards.

'We have actually reduced the price of this second photograph in recognition of it not being ideal, although we have been misreported as charging extra this year and profiteering from the situation, which is completely false.

'We would much prefer to do these photos the traditional way but have to comply with the university's wishes.'

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