KU Leuven: Joint Office KU Leuven lays down final sanctions

The Joint Bureau of the KU Leuven, as an independent appeal body, has laid down the final sanctions against seven students who were involved in the Reuzegom case. The students are expelled and are no longer allowed to register at KU Leuven for a number of years, some permanently. With this step, the university’s disciplinary procedures have been completed.

On December 7, 2018, student Sanda Dia died after the fatal Giant Groom baptism that took place on December 5, 2018 in Vorselaar. The KU Leuven community was deeply shocked. In early 2019, immediately after the facts, the university initiated disciplinary proceedings against the students involved based on the limited information available at the time. The court also started an investigation.

In August 2020, KU Leuven requested and was granted access to the criminal file. ‘The criminal file turned out to contain new elements that the university did not have before and that conflict with our disciplinary standard,’ says Vice Rector for Education Policy Tine Baelmans. ‘Our disciplinary standard puts respect for people and for society first. Anyone who registers as a student at our university declares to agree with the disciplinary regulations. If you exceed our disciplinary standard, you risk a sanction. ‘ The possible sanctions are a warning, a denial of the right to attend educational activities, a temporary suspension and / or temporary dismissal, a refusal to enroll or the permanent exclusion.

Based on new elements from the criminal file, the KU Leuven started disciplinary proceedings against the seven students who were still registered who were involved in the Reuzegom case. In the first instance, sanctions were imposed by the competent disciplinary committees. These consist of the Vice Rector for Student Affairs, the dean of the faculty of the student concerned and a student. The students involved appealed against this decisionto the Executive Board of the university, which was the competent appeal body for this matter in the following composition: the vice rectors, the general administrator and the chair of the KU Leuven Student Council. As with the disciplinary proceedings in 2019, the Rector and the Vice Rector for Student Affairs were not part of the appeal body and did not participate in the deliberations. ‘Together with the appeals committee, we have now re-examined the file per student, heard the students and laid down the final sanctions. The seven students will be sent away for a number of years, some permanently ‘, says vice rector and chair of the appeals committee Tine Baelmans.

With the final determination of the sanctions, the disciplinary proceedings at KU Leuven are now completely over. The appeal to the Joint Bureau is the highest possible appeal at KU Leuven. ‘We realize that no sanction or procedure can take away the grief for Sanda,’ says Vice Rector Baelmans. His death left deep wounds on many people. A great drama happened during the Giant Groom Baptism. No procedure can undo that, however much we would like to. Now that the disciplinary procedures have been completed and the final sanctions have been laid down, we as a university community must give a place to the drama together. We must never forget Sanda and what happened. ‘

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