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  1. ITV Report

New advice to students following Newcastle University initiation death

Ed Farmer Credit: Family photo

Students must be told about the risks of taking part in initiation ceremonies at university, according to new advice.

It aims to raise awareness about the potential dangers of initiation events that involve excessive drinking, as well as other risky behaviours and activities such as coercion, humiliation or bullying.

The guidance, published by Universities UK in collaboration with Newcastle University, is part of work done in response to the death of Ed Farmer, who died in December 2016 after taking part in an initiation event.

An inquest found that the 20-year-old Newcastle University student's death had resulted from the "toxic effects" of excessive drinking in a short period of time.

In her ruling, the coroner called for first-year students to be given better teaching on the dangers of binge-drinking.

In a foreword to the document, Mr Farmer's parents Jeremy and Helen said: "If students were made aware of the dangers of drinking large volumes of spirits in short periods of time, and maybe aware of the signs of someone that is no longer just drunk but in a life-limiting state and use the example of Ed to give the message some relevance, then possibly just one student might be luckier on a night out than Ed."

Ed Farmer's father Jeremy Credit: NCJ Media

The document has been published as hundreds of thousands of students begin degree courses and freshers' week takes place at universities across the UK.

It contains a list of recommendations for universities, including raising awareness of initiations among students and staff, being clear on what constitutes an initiation involving risky behaviour and advertising support available to students.

It does also warn against blanket bans, or a "zero-tolerance approach" to these types of events, because it can push them "into private spaces, such as off-campus accommodation, and so making them more dangerous".