28 student clubs refuse to sign new hazing charter, "a real disgrace" says minister 

Various student clubs - mostly male clubs - have refused to sign the new charter created by Leuven University (KU Leuven) after a hazing ran out of hand last December, resulting in the death of a student. The Flemish Education Minister Hilde Crevits says she is very disappointed and calls it a real disgrace. 

The 20-year-old victim was a recruit for the student club Moeder Reuzegom - which was disbanded afterwards - and had to drink fish oil while sitting almost naked in a wood. The incident triggered a lot of indignation and student clubs agreed they would all sign a new charter, which lists a number of basic rules to avoid more incidents. 

While 28 male clubs didn't sign the charter, a dozen female clubs did. However, while the former didn't make today's deadline, they said they are still considering to sign, if some adaptations can be made. They argue they don't want to lose their independence, and reject the rule that obliges them to report each hazing ahead. They say they are working on their own charter, claiming this will make hazing as safe as under the guidebook compiled by KU Leuven. 

KU Leuven boss Luc Sels is disappointed: "Hazing should not be humiliating, it should be a welcoming event and this can be funny. But above all, the atmosphere should be one of respect, and safety is crucial. However, we expect the male clubs to come forward in the coming weeks, to sign the charter after all."

Minister is angry and disappointed

Later today, Education Minister Hilde Crevits (Christian democrat) told the VRT that she was very disappointed by the refusal. "I don't often use big words, but this is a real disgrace. Everybody's integrity should be respected at all times, taking into account a number of basic rules." The minister says she doesn't understand why it is so difficult to ratify the charter.