Another ‘ospek’ video goes viral, but this time faculty official defends hazing

Only days after the now-viral hazing in a virtual ospek (campus orientation) carried out by college students in Surabaya became the subject of ridicule online, another clip has surfaced from Bengkulu province, though this time the university doesn’t seem to see it as a real concern.

Related ⁠— College freshmen getting bullied during ‘ospek’ is still a thing, but it looks so silly online

A video showing a female freshman smearing red lipstick all over her face, following an order by an unseen male senior during virtual ospek, has been widely circulating on social media since yesterday.

“Fill up your face [with the lipstick]! Quick, quick! Do it to your whole face,” the male senior can be heard shouting at the freshman in a local dialect.

Another clip shows a freshman cowering to his senior’s aggressive verbal abuse.

Twitter user @ababil_kuadrat, who appears to have been the first person to post about the matter, wrote that it was carried out by students of Bengkulu University’s Faculty of Engineering. He said he posted the thread after hearing complaints from his friends, who are new students at the university, about how the ospek has been carried out. 

Ospek is an orientation period in Indonesian universities, which is traditionally marked with hazing to “strengthen the mentalities” of freshmen. As universities across the country are moving to online learning during the pandemic, it appears that ospek has also moved online, usually conducted via Zoom.

The dean of the faculty in question, Faisal Hadi, said at least 10 students have been questioned about the ospek, though he claimed that @ababil_kuadrat has partially cut the clip from the entire event out of context.

“According to the senior students who carried out the ospek, there was a freshman who fell asleep then they were given a punishment, [and] it wasn’t bullying because all of the freshmen were given the same punishment. If they did it to one person, that’s what’s considered as bullying. So it was [a form of solidarity] because they did it together,” Faisal told reporters today.

Faisal believes that the two-day online ospek has gone well, explaining that it included other activities such as stand-up comedy, though it ended with the lipstick punishment. After the event went viral, Faisal said he was instructed by the university dean and board of directors to look into the matter and see if verbal abuse or bullying did take place during the orientation.

Faisal said a team has been set up to investigate, who will be questioning the freshmen about the punishment they received. Should the seniors be found punishing the new students for gratification, they will be subject to sanctions. 

In 2016, then-Education Affairs Minister Anies Baswedan issued a decree banning hazing and other forms of abuse or bullying to take place during orientation. However, just a year later, three university freshmen died from wounds consistent with physical torture, which they endured during their ospek.

The fact that students are now still finding ways to haze freshmen, even if they have to do it online, goes to show that it’s difficult to stop the violent cycle of this dangerous tradition.

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