Tuesday, January 17, 2012
UK students face punishment for Nazi-themed game
Jewish student was left with a broken nose after objecting to drinking game, which was called “Nazi Ring of Fire.”
London - Students from a London university are facing disciplinary action after taking part in a Nazi-themed drinking game, which resulted in a Jewish student being attacked, while on a ski trip to France.
The Student Union at the London School of Economics organized the trip, which took 150 students from the Athletics club to the French ski resort Val d’Isère.
A Jewish student was left with a broken nose after objecting to the game, which was called “Nazi Ring of Fire.” It involved arranging cards on the table in the shape of a swastika, and required players to “Salute the Fuhrer.”
The university has strongly condemned the actions of the students and has vowed to take action.
“These are disturbing allegations relating to events which took place on a foreign trip organized by the Students’ Union,” an LSE spokesman said on Monday.
“Both the Student Union and LSE are investigating these events and are prepared to take disciplinary action if the allegations are shown to be true.
“Students must abide by clear standards of behavior set by both LSE and the SU and breaches of those standards are taken very seriously.
We do not tolerate anti- Semitism or any other form of racism,” the spokesman added.
The Jewish Society at the university said the incident not only highlights the worrying trends of contemporary anti-Semitism, but indicates a “depressing lack of education” from students at such an esteemed institution.
“Nazi glorification and anti-Semitism have no place in our universities, which should remain safe spaces for all students,” said Jay Stoll, president of the Jewish Society. “There is simply no context for what has happened here. Those who believe the game was all in good humor need to realize that when a Jewish student is subject to violence and the Nazi ideology glorified it is no joke but a spiteful, collective attack on a community.”
The Student Union said it does not tolerate any form of discrimination in any of its activities and has promised action.
“A ‘drinking game’ with a Nazi theme could not be further from our values and we condemn the actions of those who participated in it.
We have a zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism at LSE Student Union.”
This was backed also by the president of the Athletics Union, Brendan Mycock, who condemned the game and blamed it on a small group of individuals.
“The Athletics Union prides itself on our open and tolerant nature, and behavior of this sort is not acceptable and is not an accurate representation of the behavior we uphold ourselves to,” Mycock said.
A London-based organization fighting extremism on campuses in the UK said that while this may at first appear to be an isolated incident, there has been a “worrying rise” in anti-Semitic incidents on university campuses in recent years.
“This disturbing incident may come as a shock to many, but the reality is that anti-Semitism is on the rise across British universities,” said Raheem Kassam, director of the campus watchdog organization Student Rights.
“Despite many previous warnings, the LSE has become a campus conducive to intolerance and anti-Semitism and this simply cannot be allowed to continue.”
Kassam called for a full and transparent investigation to take place, with any guilty students to be suspended.
Last November, four of the most senior members of the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA) resigned after accusing other members of engaging in anti- Semitic behavior, including singing a Nazi-themed song.
“I also expect the LSE will have to address institutional failings as it becomes clear that while this incident was certainly shocking, it was not wholly unexpected,” Kassam said.