A number of current and former Veterinary Science students have made allegations suggesting the existence of a secretive society of male vets in New Zealand, with one current student claiming that membership of the society “affords you special privileges, especially when it comes to finding a job as a new graduate”.
Jenny Weston, the Dean of Massey University’s Veterinary Science department, confirmed to Massive that she was aware of the alleged group, saying:
“The possible existence of such a group has come to my attention very recently.”
Weston told Massive that without more time to respond, she could not comment further.
Massey University communications director James Gardiner told Massive that the university had not received a complaint about the alleged group.
“We have not received a complaint. A couple of students have expressed concern to the Dean about the existence of a ‘secret’ men’s club and the claim – which is no more than a claim – that non-members might face discrimination in workplaces. Obviously the ‘secret’ is now out.”
Those students and ex-students that spoke to Massive about the alleged group did so under the condition that their identities would remain anonymous.
One student, who only wished to be identified as a male and current fourth-year Veterinary Science major, told Massive that the alleged group is called the Veterinary Guy’s Society or VGS.
They went on to claim that the group only exposes themselves on graduation day when they wear a specific piece of attire.
The student alleges that only certain male Veterinary students are picked to be members of the society, telling Massive:
“It is important to note that being a male in vet school does not grant you automatic entry into this club. They appear quite selective, and seek out real blokey guys – typically rugby players [and] hunters [and] masculine, farm boy types.”
Another ex-Veterinary Science student spoke to Massive about being “afraid that there would be repercussions” around getting jobs in the industry for those that spoke about the alleged group.
They told Massive that they discovered the existence of the alleged group a number of years ago when one of their friends was accidentally included in an email that went out to members, saying:
“One of the guys sent an email to what he thought was the rest of the guys in the group, but he accidentally sent it to one of our friends. I don’t know what it said in it. I never saw it. Later, the person that received the email was spoken to and told not to say anything because they were obviously not meant to have seen it.”
The ex-student told Massive that they chose to remain quiet about the group out of fear of not being employed once they graduated, saying:
“We knew that there were guys in the workforce that were in the club that could potentially jeopardise our job opportunities.”
They described members of the group as being “jock guys”.
A current Massey student told Massive that members of the alleged group receive “secret letters sent to their flats when an event was on and snuck out in suits”.
Another student suggested letters are sent to male students inviting them to join the group, saying:
“At the start of second year they got a letter in their cubby holes inviting them to join and they had a big initiation, but I don’t know the details. I think only about five or six [students] get invited each year.”
One final student described the alleged group as being “archaic” and “sexist as fuck”, telling Massive:
“Very few girls have heard of it. I only found out this year and I think lots of guys don’t know about it either, but I’m not sure. It’s basically a networking group of ‘cool’ male vets and ‘cool’ handpicked male vet students so they can snap them up for jobs in fifth year.
“I don’t know the details. I’ve gathered it’s like cool rugby, farmy boys with good banter and [who] like to drink. It’s archaic and sexist as fuck, in my opinion.”
Massive spoke to two alleged members of the group, with both denying that they were members and both claiming never to have heard of the secret society.
Massey University Veterinary Students’ Association President Corey Regnerus did not respond to Massive’s request for comment.
Regnerus is not alleged to be a member of the group.
Blair Teesdale-Moore’s feature on sexism within the veterinary industry in New Zealand can be read here.