The University of East Anglia (UEA) has advised students against throwing mortarboards at graduation ceremonies this year, stating student safety as the reason for this recommendation.
Instead of following the tradition of throwing mortarboard in the air after graduating, UEA has suggested imitating this gesture for a photograph. Professional photographers could then edit the image to make it look like mortarboards have been thrown above the students’ heads while limiting the risk of injuries.
UEA commented, “We have taken this step because in each of the last two years students have suﬀered facial injuries.” However, there is no readily available national data on the frequency of mortarboard related injuries at UK graduation ceremonies.
The University backed up their advice, stating, “last year a student needed treatment in A&E.”
“It is only right that they oﬀer students the option of Photoshopping other objects to appear thrown above their heads – a fridge perhaps.”
When faced with accusations of restricting students’ freedom with a ban on mortarboard throwing, UEA replied that “if individuals or small groups want to throw their mortarboards they can, but we don’t think doing it in groups of around 250 students is sensible.”
A student from St Anne’s expressed regret that Oxford hasn’t followed East Anglia’s lead, but opted to remain anonymous fearing backlash from caﬀeinated and stressed ﬁnalists.
“I ﬁnd it hard to believe the University’s claim that they take student welfare seriously when they don’t even act to stop overzealous students launching medieval pointed frisbees at other students” the student said. “Besides, anything to take the fun out of graduation should be swiftly enacted. Students don’t seem to realise that it is not a time for celebration – the only thing that should be on your mind is how you are going to spend the next few years of your life paying oﬀ thirty grand of student debt in your unfulﬁlling consultancy job.”
Responding to the idea to digitally add mortarboards above posing students, Maths student Josh Gowdy voiced subdued excitement over the possibilities generated by this technique. “If they are doing it with mortarboards, surely it is only right that they oﬀer students the option of Photoshopping other objects to appear thrown above their heads – a fridge perhaps.”
Shepherd and Woodward declined to comment when asked if their products could lead to injuries among groups of celebrating students. The Oxford subfusc provider and photography company Ede & Ravenscroft were also contacted, but declined to answer as to whether they viewed Photoshop as a feasible alternative to the act of throwing hats into the air.