VUB files criminal complaint against student society’s transgressive behaviour
A student society is under scrutiny after Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) filed a complaint of large-scale transgressive behaviour with the public prosecutor’s office. Disciplinary procedures have been initiated, the university said in a statement.
The society in question, Solvay Kring, is a fraternity built around an exclusive and expensive lifestyle, made up of mainly of engineering students. Like all Belgian universities, the society has student initiations and parties, also known as TD. Their activities have flagged up numerous concerns about their transgressive nature.
Events such as an erotica TD caused problems for the society six years ago after testimonials from female students were published in the Brussels student newspaper De Moeial. They recounted how female students who took part in a wet t-shirt contest had to pour ice-cold water over themselves and then proceeded to take off their bras until one student was crowned the winner. Additionally, professional strippers were hired to perform in front of the rest of the society in another TD named Moulin ‘Orange’, according to former student Emma.
For initiations, the society had a white tent located on campus where both genders had to take off their clothes; initiation rituals were performed in which boys had to go completely naked and girls were only allowed to keep their underwear on. Female students then received comments about their breasts. “It’s an outright meat inspection,” said Emma. The society has been banned from the campus and from putting on any events for the time being.
The university is also prepared to provide any legal and psychological assistance for each of the victims concerned. “Transgressive behaviour won’t be tolerated at the VUB. Not now, not later, not ever,” said rector Jan Danckaert, who added that the university's Yana (You Are Not Alone) policy took every complaint seriously.
“The moment we are aware of any transgressive behaviour, we step in and provide the necessary advice and support to the people who flagged it as well as the victims… They are not alone,” he said.
The VUB refrains for the time being from making any further comments due to the ongoing criminal complaint and disciplinary procedures.