Leuven University banishes seven students after Sanda Dia died by hazing

The Catholic University of Leuven Belgium sends seven students away. They were involved in a greening drama in which a 20-year-old student died at the end of 2018. Some of them are excluded from registration at the KU Leuven for a few years, some of them are banned for good. With the penal measures, the university finishes the case definitively.

Sanda Dia from Antwerp‘s Edegem died in December 2018 during a hazing of student club Reuzegom in Vorselaar. Among other things, the victim had to sit in ice cold water for hours and drink liters of fish sauce. After thirty hours of humiliation and renunciation, he was taken hypothermia to the hospital, where two days later he died of multiple organ failure. The student club was disbanded shortly afterwards.

After a first disciplinary inquiry in 2019, the students involved received community service and had to write a paper. There was a lot of criticism of this light punishment. Last September, the university started a new investigation after having requested and received the criminal file. โ€œThe criminal record appeared to contain new elements previously unavailable to the university, which are contrary to our disciplinary standard,โ€ said Vice Rector Tine Baelmans.

โ€œ We realise that no sanction or procedure can remove Sanda’s grief,โ€ she says. โ€œWe, as a university community, have to give the drama a place together. We must never forget Sanda and what happened.โ€

Eighteen members of the student club have been charged with degrading treatment, accidental killing, the deliberate administration of harmful substances resulting in death and guilty omission. The investigation in the case at the OM of Belgian Limburg is still ongoing.