KU Leuven accused of concealing truth about student hazing death

KU Leuven accused of concealing truth about student hazing death
Sanda's father has expressed dissatisfaction with the way KU Leuven has handled the incident and aftermath. Credit: Belga

Ousmane Dia, father of Sanda, who tragically died during a Reuzegom student society initiation, has strongly condemned Belgium’s KU Leuven University for allegedly withholding the truth.

In an interview published by Humo on Saturday, Dia expressed deep disappointment in the justice system. Joined by Sanda’s grandmother, Makemu Meunier, and their lawyer Sven Mary, he said, “Sanda was my son, my only son. They took him away from me. Now, the court has also slapped me. Sanda didn’t receive the respect he deserved.”

Dia also expressed dissatisfaction with the response from KU Leuven and its rector, Luc Sels. He said, “When a student from your university dies, as rector, it seems to me you should find out what happened. You hold the involved parties accountable, you intervene decisively. Luc Sels did not do this.”

Dia further suggested that Sels should have expelled the members of the Reuzegom society from the university.

“He should have threatened them with halting their studies. Students who saw everything but were not responsible for Sanda’s death would have then spoken out. Sels also failed to take civil action, which would have given him access to all the information in the legal case. He quietly let the boys off the hook. KU Leuven is responsible for the fact that the truth was not revealed, even during the trial,” Dia added.

Sanda’s father believes his son was singled out due to his skin colour. He said, “People will try to argue otherwise and point to another boy of colour in the society. But as a father, I say what I feel deep in my heart: Reuzegom, an elitist student club, brought in Sanda, someone who didn’t fit their standard. His father didn’t have a big house with a garden. Sanda was too small for them. And they wanted to prove it.”

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