Potch university fights Nazi salutes

2014-02-21 14:13
First year students at North West University's Potchefstroom campus are photographed doing an apparent Nazi salute. (Beeld)

First year students at North West University's Potchefstroom campus are photographed doing an apparent Nazi salute. (Beeld)

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Potchefstroom - North West University says it will act strongly against any Nazi-related displays at its Potchefstroom campus, after it emerged that such displays sporadically emerge, often during initiation week.

Beeld reported on Friday that the university's Potchestroom campus rector, Herman van Schalkwyk, had apologised "unconditionally" for certain university students' apparent tradition of using Nazi salutes.

The Nazi "Sieg Heil", which was used by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's youth brigade, has apparently been a feature of initiation proceedings for at least a decade.

Photographs published by Beeld showed groups of students doing Nazi salutes.

According to the report, a university lecturer last year found a swastika carved into the cement, but painted a dove over it.

Incidents where the salute was used were brought to the attention of the university's management. According to Van Schalkwyk, it was important to explain to students who did not understand the full history and meaning of the salute that it was inappropriate.

Meanwhile, the university has obtained a temporary interdict stopping the Higher Education Transformation Network (HETN) from defaming the university. The network issued a number of statements criticising the university, saying it was a racist institution, and also published a Facebook post bearing a swastika and the university's name.

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