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Students have been banned from throwing their mortarboards in the air at the University of East Anglia (UEA), with health and safety being used as an erroneous excuse.
According to The Tab, the student newspaper for the university in Norwich, students have been urged to mime a throwing action and have hats digitally added to the photo afterwards for £8.
A university spokesperson said injuries cause by falling mortarboards presented an “unacceptable risk”.
She said: “We want to ensure no student’s graduation day is ruined by the potential for avoidable injury.”
The Health and Safety Executive, which set up the Myth Busters panel to tackle the use of health and safety as a catch-all excuse responded to the story.
“You’d think universities would study history and do a bit of research before repeating tired health and safety myths like this one,” said Geoff Cox.
“The banning of mortarboard tossing on supposed ‘health and safety’ grounds is one of our most popular myths and actually appears in our Top 10 all-time worst health and safety excuses.”
He added that the law doesn’t stop graduates from celebrating their success in the time-honoured fashion of throwing their mortarboards in the air.
“The chance of being injured by a flying mortar board is incredibly small and it’s over-the-top to impose an outright ban.
“We usually find the concern is actually about the hats being returned in good condition.”
The UEA spokesperson said the policy had been agreed by the the academic dress suppliers “who often receive back damaged mortarboards, and our photographers”.