Following a number of high profile cases in previous years, universities, colleges and students agreed on several ethical rules governing student “baptisms” – or hazing – in Belgium.
The student associations that do not comply may no longer receive their approval from academic authorities, Le Soir reported on Thursday.
Students baptisms will be restricted via a charter which bans degrading treatment, indecent assault, excess alcoholand racist or sexist songs. In the past, students sustained serious injuries, ended up in a coma, and a few died as a result of the hazing.
“This is a basic minimum common to all higher education institutions,” said Julien Nicaise, Director of ARES (Higher Education Federation). “Each is free to amplify or specify it according to its specificities.”
The charter also stipulates in a preamble the obligation to allow students to have the choice to participate or not in baptism activities,without any impact on their studies. Moreover, organisers of baptisms are invited to attend specific training sessions (risk prevention for physical and psychological health, legal and personal responsibility, first aid).
The charter will be distributed to all schools in the coming days.