LSE students are facing disciplinary action after participating in a Nazi-themed drinking game during the Athletics Union’s ski trip, held at a French mountain-side resort in December 2011. Later in the night, two students were involved in an altercation, one of whom sustained a broken nose from the incident.
‘Nazi Ring of Fire’ involved arranging cards on the table in the shape of a Swastika, and required players to “Salute the Fuhrer.”
A video featuring students making antisemitic comments was uploaded to Facebook, but has since been removed.
“LSE Students’ Union Jewish Society (J-Soc) and the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) are appalled by a reported antisemitic assault that occurred after a Jewish student objected to a Nazi-themed drinking game, that was being played by his fellow students on a recent LSE Ski Trip in France. Nazi glorification and antisemitism have no place in our universities, which should remain safe spaces for all students,” said Jay Stoll, president of the LSE Students’ Union’s Jewish Society. “There is simply no context for what has happened here. Those who believe the game was all in good humour 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.”
Stoll added: “This incident highlights the worrying trends of contemporary antisemitism, but beyond all else indicates a depressing lack of education from students of an esteemed institution.”
Alex Peters-Day, General Secretary of the LSE Students’ Union, said: “The Students’ Union does not tolerate any form of discrimination in any of its activities. 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 antisemitism at LSESU and after consultation with LSE, the Union of Jewish Students, the LSE Jewish Society and the LSE Athletics Union, we are all in agreement that the students involved in this incident should face disciplinary action. This action is on-going but we can say that the outcomes will likely involve an educational element alongside any punitive sanctions.”
“Although extremely rare, we want to prevent an incident like this happening again in the future. We will work with all sections of the student community to expand on our current processes, training, and policies,” added Peters-Day.
Brendan Mycock, President of the LSE Athletics Union, said: “The Athletics Union strongly condemns the actions taken by a small group of individuals on the Ski trip to Val D’iserre [sic: D’isere] in December of 2011. The Athletics Union prides itself on our open and tolerant nature and behaviour of this sort is not acceptable and is not an accurate representation of the behaviour we uphold ourselves to. Being in the Athletics Union is about being a team, behaving with respect to our team-mates and Athletics Union peers and representing our Union and our University.”
“All forms of discrimination, in this case antisemitism, should be widely condemned and seen as a timely reminder of our responsibilities both in the AU and wider society. The two are not mutually distinct. We will work with the School and the SU to ensure we reach a resolution on this and ensure that the Athletics Union remains a place that students can freely play sport and socialise with others, free from discrimination or intolerance,” Mycock added.
According to a statement released by the LSE, “These are disturbing allegations relating to events which took place on a foreign trip organised by the Students’ Union. Both the SU 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 behaviour 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 Jewish Society and the Union of Jewish Students are currently working with the LSE and the Students’ Union to ensure that the issue is fully investigated, and that the individuals involved are held responsible for their actions.
This incident is the latest in a series of antisemitic incidents at British universities. Last November, four of the most senior members of the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA) resigned after accusing other members of engaging in antisemitic behaviour, including singing a Nazi-themed song.
In January 2010, the University of Huddersfield investigated claims that two of its students had created a Facebook group for a Nazi-themed drinking game they are thought to have invented.