KUL doesn’t rule out giving Van Langenhove a place

The Rector of the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) Luc Sels has said that while he “completely understands” his counterpart at Ghent University’s decision to initiate proceedings to expel the founder and leader of the radical right-wing organisation Schild & Vrienden Dries Van Langenhove from the university, the door at Leuven is not definitively closed to the 25-year-old law student .

"By shutting out aberrant opinions as a matter of course, the university would be stepping outside its role in society” Mr Sels (photo below) told VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’.  

A report by the VRT’s news magazine programme ‘Pano’ exposed racist, sexist and anti-Semitic posts in private social media forums used by the member of the radical-right wing group Schild & Vrienden.

The founder and leader of the group Dries Van Langenhove is a law student at Ghent University and is a student representative on the universities board. The Rector of Ghent University Rik Van de Walle has said that Dries Van Langenhove is no longer welcome and has started proceedings to get him expelled. In the meantime, Mr Van Langenhove is suspended.  

Mr Sels understands his counterpart in Ghent’s decision “I also believe that a line has been crossed. Message containing hate and racism cannot be tolerated, not even within the boundaries of freedom of speech”.

But would Dries Van Langenhove be welcome at the KUL?

"I feel that everyone deserves a second chance. I hope that he takes time to reflect and he would be then be given a good talking to. However, by shutting out aberrant opinions as a matter of course, the university would be stepping outside its role in society”.

However, Mr Sels adds that his university has reserved no request to enrol from Dries Van Langenhove.