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Mortarboard madness? UEA stops throwing of graduation hats over health and safety fears

Students throwing their mortarboards in the air after graduation Credit: Chris Ison/PA

The tradition of throwing a mortarboard into the air after graduation has been scrapped by the University of East Anglia in Norwich because of health and safety concerns.

The UEA said a number of graduates had been hurt by falling hats in recent years, which gave rise to "avoidable injury", according to a statement published in student newspaper The Tab.

But students could have a mortarboard added digitally to photographs afterwards.

If I've paid £45 to hire a bit of cloth and card for the day I should be able to chuck my hat in the air! "

– Louisa Baldwin, The Law Society President

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 said the ban had been agreed by academic dress suppliers which often received 'damaged mortarboards' after graduation.

"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."

– University spokesperson

The UEA is not the first University to introduce a ban, Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge banned the throwing of mortarboards in 2008.