Student association receives 2-month suspension after sexist lecture by famous plastic surgeon at UGhent
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    Student association receives 2-month suspension after sexist lecture by famous plastic surgeon at UGhent

    The University of Ghent has suspended the KVHV (Catholic Flemish Students Union) student association for two months following the lecture. Credit: Campagne ROSA

    The University of Ghent has suspended the KVHV (Catholic Flemish Students Union) student association for two months, following the sexist statements made during a lecture by a famous plastic surgeon invited by the association.

    The Executive Council of the University of Ghent has suspended the KVHV student association for two months, only partly following the four-month suggestion by its Social Council last week. The association also has to distance itself from the statements of Jeff Hoeyberghs, the Belgian plastic surgeon they invited, as well as take the images of the videos of the lecture offline, reports VRT.

    The suspension, which will take effect on 1 January 2020, means that the KVHV will no longer be allowed to organise any recognised activities, and may also not use any rooms or subsidies from the university. If the association does not adhere to the conditions, the suspension will automatically be extended by three months.

    For the duration of the suspension, the association is no longer welcome in the buildings owned by the City of Ghent, as only recognised students associations can rent those buildings for their activities, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.

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    The surgeon who was invited to speak by the association made several sexist statements like “Women want the privileges of male protection and money, but they do not want to open their legs anymore”, “We have given women dishwashing machines and cleaning ladies, until they themselves became superfluous” and “You cannot treat a woman like an equal without becoming her slave” during a lecture.

    The Institute for the Equality for Women and Men received over 1,000 complaints following the lecture, but the surgeon has refused to apologise. He called the outcry over his intervention at the University of Ghent a case of “collective hysteria,” saying that his speech was only intended for the ears of the members of Catholic Flemish Students Union, and has filed a defamation complaint.

    Hoeyberghs’ lawyer said his client’s statements were not punishable because they did not target a specific person, adding that the surgeon’s comments were “of a purely general nature.”

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times