The university has been ordered to launch a probe into the incident. Two of the Facebook posts that started the story of a hazing incident were no longer on the site by early today (Sept 12).
Korchoke Chantawarangul, acting deputy rector of KU’s Si Racha campus in Chonburi, said yesterday
9Sept 11) that the 19-year-old male first-year student swam in the campus pond during a physical training session which was part of a study course at the university’s International Maritime College. The incident did not take place during a hazing ceremony as claimed in social media.
Mr Korchoke also denied the pond was for wastewater treatment. It was in fact dug to collect rainwater for the college’s training, he said, adding students have used it regularly over the years.
The activity was also overseen by professors and senior students as it was attended by about 100 other freshmen. The students are required to undergo physical training in preparation for marine operations during their third and fourth years in the college, he added.
Mr Korchoke’s comment came after Chokchai Thongnuakhao was rushed to Laem Chabang Hospital and later referred to an intensive care unit at Chonburi Hospital with a lung infection on Sept 8. The incident was “reported: in social media alleging the freshman was told by senior students to dip into a two-metre-deep wastewater treatment pond as part of hazing activities the same day.
The social media quoted “one of Mr Chokchai’s relatives” but the person’s name was not given.
The quoted person allegedly said Mr Chokchai struggled to swim and started to sink.
The “relative” said it “reportedly” took about two minutes to get Mr Chokchai out of the pond.
The post that started the social media outrage was no longer available late yesterday on the Facebook page of “Nan Suratchawadee”, who is self-described on the page as a model based in Hua Hin.
Also unavailable by early today was the post shown above on the Facebook page of “Pook Sukonta Berthebaud”, who claims to be living in Noumea, New Caledonia.
Amporn Thongnuakhao, 54, Mr Chokchai’s father, yesterday travelled from Phatthalung to visit his son at the hospital.
Mr Amporn said doctors told him his son was gradually convalescing but the recovery will take some time.
Mr Korchoke said university executives and senior students regretted the accident and the university will help Mr Chokchai’s family to pay for his medical expenses. He added the university would review its training courses.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Higher Education Commission secretary-general Arporn Kaenwong said she instructed KU to investigate the incident and submit a report to the office.
Mr Arporn said Ohec will meet to discuss hazing activities with university executives nationwide. Such activities must not harm students or violate their basic rights.
Read original story here.