A scandal involving first-year Hajim students, potential administrators, and a cutthroat major admissions process has recently been uncovered at UR. Since 2010, potential first-year engineering students have undergone a hazing ritual in the spring semester to determine if they were cut out for engineering. In response to the decades’ long claims and reports that had been filed about the hazing rituals, the Hajim School said that no action was taken in the past because they had not seen the hazing and did not have sustainable proof something was going on.
Critics responded harshly, with first-year Chris Numero-Seis saying: “You believe an atom exists and have done a lot about them, but you’ve never actually seen one.”
The first challenge, detailed in a public Google Doc, takes place on Eastman Quad where first-years have to prove their dedication through the trial of friction. Akin to the scene from “Mulan” where she climbs up the pole with a pair of weights, first-years will do as such with their Yellowjacket Weekend long-sleeved shirt (if they weren’t able to snag one on CCC, their loss) and a tree of their choosing. They have to use their knowledge of belt friction to make it up to the tree in less than two minutes, with “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” playing on a speaker to set the atmosphere.
The second trial is one of dynamics, where first-years have to find a patch of ice, and, using the same shirt from the first challenge, be spun around in a circle at high velocities. They have to choose when to let go. This could end up in either hitting a snowbank of safety or suffering a painful fate if they do not calculate their total magnitude of velocity, or don’t change their calculator from radians to degrees.
The third one is to tell Physics majors with a straight face that optics is better than physics, and then to try not to get slapped.
Next, first-years must sniff 99% isopropyl alcohol with noise-cancellation headphones blasting hardcore bass. They then must choose between drinking a shot of vodka or a shot of vinegar.
The fifth consists of first-years drinking three energy drinks, getting spun around a chair 10 times, and then, with a time limit of 30 minutes, finding out why their answer is not working on Webwork. This is to replicate the environment of “It’s 11:30 p.m. and your homework is due at midnight and your problem is most likely due to where you put a bracket.” If you’re able to do this, then you’re able to do anything.
The penultimate task has first-years in a race to complete an electrical circuit — the kind you would be given in high school with the lightbulb, but they’re from a Physics E&M lab, so 50-50 chance they work. For every three minutes that pass without the circuit being finished, participants have to take a shot of tequila.
Finally, you must be able to tell a random person you see walking around Rush Rhees what an engineer actually does. If the tribute is able to either deflect explaining what an engineer does for more than 3.14 minutes or explain an engineer’s activities in a concise sentence, then they pass. There is no in-between.
Surprisingly, no major injuries have been reported or have come to light from these hazings. Alumni Jacobs Rotz, who graduated from Chemical Engineering in 2012, commented, “Most first-years have taken MATH 162 by the time the trials start, so nothing can really hurt them anymore.”
More details of the fallout from the hazing scandal and the findings of the investigations will be reported on in the coming weeks. As the UR community reflects on how such a large hazing scandal was able to take place without any repercussions, and what this means about our community, we must focus on questions of our future and how we will change — how we will be ever better.
When asked about the scandal, Professor Avacadogrado, who was accused of participating in the creation of the program, asked, “So, this isn’t going to hurt our research funding, will it?”