European University in Frankfurt (Oder) initiates measures

After right-wing extremist incidents at the USC university sports club became known, the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) initiated legal action in consultation with the board. The university’s chancellor, Robert Nissen, said on Tuesday evening that the club had also held discussions with employees about the allegations. Nissen is a USC board member in the independently registered club, where university sports also take place.

In an open letter dated December 8th, students from the “Action Alliance Viadrina” raised allegations that unconstitutional, right-wing extremist symbols, such as swastikas or SS runes, were openly displayed at USC and that employees of the sports club would presumably not take action against it. They accused the university of passive behavior.

According to the university, it was agreed that USC will revise its house rules by February 2024 in order to be able to deny access to members who are openly racist and discriminatory. “It is our goal, together with the USC, to further develop the atmosphere in the USC practice rooms so that all of our students can feel comfortable there,” said Nissen. He will work hard towards this in his role as a board member.

Queer and anti-constitutional symbols

Over 4,500 students from 108 countries study at the Viadrina University on the Oder. The proportion of foreign students at Viadrina is one third. The largest groups of students come from Poland, Ukraine and Turkey.

On the university campus, raised beds created by students were also destroyed and daubed with queer and anti-constitutional symbols. With the raised beds, the “Students for Climate Justice Frankfurt (Oder)” wanted to draw attention to climate change. They have now dismantled the beds.

At an exchange between the university management and the sports club with students on Monday evening, all sides reaffirmed their determination to resolutely oppose any form of right-wing extremist, racist and discriminatory statements and behavior on campus and in the sports club. Martin Hampel, a member of the sports club’s board since the end of October, announced mandatory information and awareness-raising measures for all USC employees. Hampel has experience in prevention work and raising awareness of right-wing radicalism. The next exchange with the students is scheduled to take place before the end of the winter semester in February 2024.

According to the spokesman for the alliance “No Place for Nazis in Frankfurt (Oder), Jan Augustyniak, it has been known since at least the beginning of 2022 that “Nazis come and go” in the sports club. He called for the agreements now reached to be implemented quickly. In a university that sees itself as cosmopolitan and a city that operates as a twin city with Slubice in Poland, it is absurd that students are so intimidated. (dpa)

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