The prosecutor’s office in Antwerp has applied to have the investigation into the death of a student during an initiation into a university student club moved to another jurisdiction, after it was revealed that the son of a judge on the Antwerp court of first instance was present at the initiation ceremony. The club, known as Reuzegom, is made up of students from the university of Leuven, but the ceremony of initiation took place in a forest in the town of Vorselaar in Antwerp province. The son of the judge was at the time a member of the club’s governing body. Reuzegom has since been disbanded on orders of the university.
Sanda Dia, a student aged 20, died after consuming a large quantity of fish sauce which contains a high level of salt which is not dangerous in normal quantities, but which led him to fall into a coma before he could reach hospital. An excessive consumption of salt can cause brain damage, although the results of an autopsy have not yet been revealed.
Members of the club who were in charge of organising the initiation ceremony could face charges of humiliating treatment. In the meantime that club has been disbanded, while others have been forced to sign up to a charter of good conduct on pain of losing their funding. Leuven university rector Luc Sels (photo) even threatened clubs who did not comply with expulsion from the university.
Meanwhile the university of Antwerp has announced the dissolution of the association of law students Sofia, following a gala ball in November which ended in fighting and police charges. One student was arrested and another had to be hospitalised.