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5 years ago

UK university bans graduating students from tossing mortarboards because they might hurt people

TomoNews US
TomoNews US
NORWICH, UNITED KINGDOM — University of East Anglia in Norwich, England has banned its graduating students from tossing their mortarboards, a common tradition across cultures, after some students were hurt by falling hats in recent years.

"The decision to not have the traditional 'hat throwing' photo opportunity for all 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," the university told the Guardian.

The mortarboard got its name from a similarly-shaped tool known as the hawk, which is used by bricklayers to hold cement. The mortarboard is made of a rigid piece of cardboard that allows it to keep its shape and spin when it is thrown.

The Chronicle of Higher Education cited an incident reported in a 1979 paper in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, where a 17-year-old girl whose sight was impaired after being struck across the right eye by a mortarboard.

In order to compensate the students' loss of the tradition, UEA has suggested graduates to mime the action of tossing their hats, and to have an £8-photo-edit service digitally add the hats to the graduation photos.

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