If fear of flying mortarboards figures prominently in your phobias, then the University of East Anglia is on your side.
In the interests of health and safety, the British university is banning graduating students from tossing their mortarboards into the air to celebrate their big day.
The school in eastern England told students it was curtailing cap-throwing after “a number of injuries over recent years to graduates hurt by falling mortarboards,” according to the Associated Press.
Penguin Photography, which takes graduates' portraits, said students could mime the throwing motion and have a mortarboard digitally added later. It said in a statement that “we would much prefer to do these photos the traditional way but have to comply with the university's wishes.”
To be fair to the good folk at the University of East Anglia, apparently one student there did end up in the emergency room last year with a mortarboard-related injury, according to BT, a British news website.
But it was too over the top for Geoff Cox, head of the public services sector of Great Britain's Health and Safety Executive, a governmental agency that oversees workplace safety. Cox called the dangers from hurtling mortarboards a myth. “The chance of being injured by a flying mortarboard is incredibly small and it's over the top to impose an outright ban,” he said.
“You'd think universities would study history and do a bit of research before repeating tired health and safety myths like this one. The banning of mortarboard tossing on supposed 'health and safety' grounds is one of our most popular myths and actually appears in our top 10 all-time worst health and safety excuses,” Cox told BT.