Sanda Dia's father criticises university’s response to fatal hazing
The father of Sanda Dia has criticised the actions of KU Leuven in the aftermath of the extreme initiation ritual in which his son died in 2018. He made the comments in an interview with Humo magazine published on Saturday.
Ousmane Dia, in a joint interview with Sanda’s stepmother Makemu Meunier and lawyer Sven Mary, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the court’s decision last week, in which 18 members of the Reuzegom student fraternity were sentenced to community service and a fine for their involvement in Sanda’s death. “Sanda was my son – my only son,” he said. “They took that away from me. And now the court has also slapped me in the face. Sanda has not been given the respect he deserves.”
He said he was unhappy with the reaction of KU Leuven and rector Luc Sels. Had they threatened those involved with expulsion from the university, he believes the men who witnessed the events but were not responsible for Sanda’s death would have spoken up and provided answers to what happened. “KU Leuven is responsible for the truth not surfacing, including at the trial,” he said.
According to Dia, his son was singled out because of his colour. “People will say I’m wrong and refer to the other boy of colour in Reuzegom,” he said. “But I say, as a father, what I feel in my innermost heart: with Sanda, Reuzegom, an elite fraternity, brought in someone who did not fit.”
#FlandersNewsService | Ousmane Dia pictured after the judgement of the Antwerp appeal court, 26 May 2023 © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM