MAS withdraws sponsorship over ‘freak accident’

by Mina Martin 30 Sep 2016

MAS withdraws sponsorship over ‘freak accident’

A ‘freak accident’ that seriously injured a 20-year-old engineering student has led an insurance company and a brewery to ditch their support of Canterbury University Engineering Society (Ensoc), it has been reported.

Insurance company Medical Assurance Society (MAS) and DB Breweries have withdrawn their sponsorship of Ensoc after a stunt, which was part of its committee’s initiation process, left the student with a fractured spine, Fairfax Media reported.

On 16 September, the student lit his hair and jumped off the roof of his two-storey Christchurch flat into an inflatable pool. The incident, which the victim’s flatmates called a ‘freak accident,’ was filmed and was due to be shown at the Ensoc AGM last week.

A spokesman for silver sponsor MAS told Fairfax Media: "We were not aware of, nor would we ever condone, Ensoc's initiation process for the committee."
"While we understand Ensoc no longer encourages this practice, we have determined that the conduct of the organisation was not consistent with our brand values and accordingly have decided to terminate our sponsorship with immediate effect."

A spokesman for gold sponsor DB, on the other hand, said the company was “absolutely devastated” about the incident and would never knowingly support such acts.

"We have spoken to Ensoc president Zaimon Sansom​ this morning and have communicated our decision that we will not be renewing our University of Canterbury Engineering Society sponsorship next year.”

"We have also asked for all use of our branding to be removed from their website today."

The society’s guidelines stated that nominees were required to notify the AGM adjudicator of the content of their stunt prior to the filming.

"The purpose of the stunt is to prove to the audience that you are the best man or woman for the job, and the lengths you are willing to go for the betterment of the club."

The form also provided that it would not accept stunts that may cause serious injury to the candidate or anyone else, and asked candidates to consider if the stunt was likely to cause serious long-term consequences.

The student’s flatmates said the stunt requirement has been scrapped this year because of the accident, Fairfax Media reported.

Detective Sergeant Mike Freeman said police would not investigate the incident any further.


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