As many as 15 new students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim wound up in the hospital this week after drinking shots of vinegar during an initiation rite at the school’s engineering division. One remained in the intensive care ward at St Olavs Hospital on Wednesday with what doctors called serious injuries.
The young man in his 20s was urged to drink not just vinegar but a concentrated form of vinegar that reportedly was purchased by mistake. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that he was poisoned by it, and members of the student society that organized the initiation have apologized.
“This isn’t how we want to receive our new fellow students,” stated Oscar Lilleløkken, leader of the student organization A/F Smørekoppen, in a press release. “We take this situation seriously and apologize in the strongest of terms to all involved.”
All of the other students who fell ill after drinking the vinegar have been released from hospital. The academic leader of the engineering faculty at NTNU, Olav Bolland, remained upset and called the incident “unfortunate and serious.” He said the student organization “does a lot of good regarding social aspects for the students, and there’s a long tradition of initiation rites. What happened yesterday was a departure that was extremely unfortunate.”