Following a gruesome hazing (called ‘baptism’ in Flemish), 20-year-old student Sanda Dia died in 2018. He was made to swallow goldfish, eat minced mouse, drink large quantities of fish sauce and sit in a trench of ice-cold water.

The members of student association Reuzegom in Leuven deleted photos and videos from their phones and did their best to cover other tracks as well. The association disbanded itself a few days after the incident.

Eighteen members received community service orders of two to three hundred hours and were ordered to pay fines of around four hundred euros by the court in Antwerp. Damages amounting to several thousand euros were also imposed, including fifteen thousand euros for Sanda Dia’s father.


In Belgium there is great indignation about this hazing and the mild punishments. It is said to be a case of class justice. Vlogger Acid (real name Nathan Vandergunst) was angry as well and has revealed some of the names of the perpetrators on YouTube.

He also mentioned the name of a restaurant owned by the parents of a Reuzegom member, who according to Flemish daily De Tijd wasn’t present at the hazing. The restaurant was then inundated with fake reservations and negative reviews. In court, the parents demanded damages amounting to 200 thousand euros.

This vlogger has now been given a higher fine than the perpetrators of the hazing: 800 instead of 400 euros. Other than the Reuzegom members, he has also been given a suspended prison sentence of three months. At VRT Nieuws, he responds cynically to the judge’s decision. “How high was the fine the Reuzegom members got? Do the math.”

Criminal record

The provisional damages of twenty thousand euros, which may still go up, are not to his liking either. “That’s money I’d rather have seen disappear into the bank account of Sanda Dia’s family than into the account of the family that contributed to the covering of tracks following the baptism.”

Incidentally, Acid has been acquitted of slander, ‘defamation’ and violation of privacy. The conviction is for ‘online harassment’. This does mean he has a criminal record now, as opposed to the former members of Reuzegom.

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