London, May 29 : Students in the UK have been warned not to throw their mortar boards or hats in the air at graduation ceremonies in case the falling headgear hurts somebody. Anglia Ruskin University chiefs want to ban the age-old tradition of gleefully hurling headgear skywards on graduation day.
According to them, someone could be 'blinded or even worse' if one of the flat-topped hats fell on them.
However, the chiefs were slammed over the health and safety plea to thousands of students.
"It's outrageous and puts a dampener on the big day," The Sun reports Student Union president Frankie Whiffen, as saying.
"It's like banning graduation pictures outdoors in case an apple or a pigeon falls on someone's head.
"Who is going to go round stopping it anyway - the hat police," he added.
The University, where 3,500 students graduate from campuses in Cambridge and Chelmsford, Essex, annually, said that it made the request because one person was taken to hospital after being hit seven years ago.
However, Laura Midgley, of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, called the plan to ban the gesture of celebration 'ridiculous.'
"If it was that dangerous universities would have banned it years ago," she said.
Roger Bibbings, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "It's a great pity if over-zealousness on health and safety grounds leads to people's fun being curtailed."
Shadow higher education minister Rob Wilson added: "It's a mortar board - not a mortar bomb."
Chay Champness, of the British Safety Council, called for 'sensible decision making, not the needless outlawing of age-old traditions'.