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ULB suspends student society's activities after naked initiation

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Illustration shows the campus of ULB (Brussels free university) (BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND)
05:39 18/10/2021

The Free University of Brussels (ULB) has taken action concerning the initiation activities of one of its student societies after naked students were filmed miming sex acts on campus in broad daylight last week. All activities of the law society have been suspended until further notice.

Last Thursday, members of the society were filmed by witnesses undergoing the naked initiation in the middle of the campus in Ixelles, in a violation of the ULB’s charter on student initiations which states that "the moral and physical integrity of students must be respected during an initiation".

"The university board is aware of these acts, and the people in charge of the student association must appear before the vice-rector on Monday," a ULB spokesperson said. "In the meantime, the activities of the association in question have been suspended."

The law society is accused of not having respected this charter and risks a ban that could run until the end of the year.

Student initiations regularly arouse controversy in Belgium. Recently, two students were hospitalised following accidents at the UCL in Louvain-la-Neuve after initiation events got out of control. UCL's activities were suspended after these incidents.

In 2020, an ethical charter was established between student societies and their universities and colleges to better regulate initiations. It aims to prohibit degrading treatment, racist remarks or those based on religious persuasion, excessive alcohol consumption and the singing of sexist songs, among others.

Written by Nick Amies