Student - November 11, 2010

Gag order for Ceres members

Five student society members talked about ragging when commenting on the television series 'Feuten'. Ceres members are not allowed to talk to the press anymore.

While it's normally taboo for members to talk about ragging in public, five members of the Wageningen society did that. When asked by Resource, they had commented on ragging in the BNN series 'Feuten'.
'Refuse to cooperate'
Following this, the 'senate' (executive body) of WSV Ceres has forbidden its members to speak on behalf of Ceres to the press. Its president Emke van Wijlen wrote last week:
'I want to advise you to refuse to cooperate in any form whatsoever in an interview; I also request you to refrain from making any more comments on related articles on the internet. Should you be asked to comment, indicate your unwillingness to do so and refer the person concerned to me. This also applies if you are contacted for any other issue for which your opinion as a member is sought. I hope to have informed you sufficiently and that you will henceforth inform the Senate should the press approach you. I remain, on behalf of the Senate, your president, Mej. E.J.M. van Wijlen.'
Why aren't the members allowed to speak up? In a telephone conversation, Van Wijlen answers: 'We don't have anything to hide but if individual members talk to the press, the wrong impression could be given. Our members don't have any media training, nor do they have a complete grasp of our society's policies.'
Mystery
The Ceres president would like to preserve the mystery in the introduction period. 'The aim of the introduction period is to foster a mutual bond among members and with the society. But if you haven't gone through that period personally, it's difficult to understand how nice it actually is.' 
Via the Senate
The nine Dutch ragging societies had foreseen problems related to the BNN series. They had refused to have any dealings with it and had decided that contact with the press would only be done via the senate. Van Wijlen: 'Our members ought to know that they can't just talk to the press about Ceres matters, but this has obviously escaped the attention of some. That's what the mail is for.'
She does not want to disclose what will be done to the members who have spilled the beans. 'These are internal affairs.'

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