Buying a fresher at auction is a thing of the past at Leuven Uni

Student fraternities at Leuven University have ended the controversial practice of auctioning first year students or freshers as part of an initiation ritual at the university.  A new baptism charter abolishes the practice that allowed the ‘buyer’ to use the bought student’s services. 

Under the new charter deciding which senior student will be a fresher’s godfather or godmother will no longer be done by auction. No form of payment may be involved. Discrimination on the basis of gender, looks or skin colour are also banned.

The new charter has been signed by Leuven fraternities, the university, associated polytechnics, the City of Leuven and the police.

Luc Sels is the rector of Leuven University: “Welcoming and baptising students must be a positive event that students are able to look back on with pleasure.  The abolition of the auctioning of freshers was a first step.”

New fraternity leaderships will all be asked to sign the charter that provides clear guidance for baptism and welcoming activities for new students. 

Student clubs that are independent of the university and operate across Flanders have also been involved in the consultations that led to the charter.  Several clubs have already signed up too.  Others are expected to join soon.

Eighteen members of Reuzegom, a former student club, currently face charges in connection with the death of student Sanda Dia.  The black student died following an extreme baptism ritual in Leuven. 

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