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Students' Union wants fraternity costume ban

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Fraternity members at a gathering in Vienna. Photo: APA/HELMUT FOHRINGER
10:08 CET+01:00
The Austrian Students' Union at the University of Vienna has called for a ban on members of right-wing student fraternities (Burschenschaften) wearing their traditional hats and chest bands on university grounds and at university events.

In addition the union also wants the weekly ‘Burschibummel’ - an event where fraternity members meet outside the university - to be banned.

In a statement, union representatives asked Vienna University to “make a clear public statement against right-wing extremist and German nationalist ideology, as well as the weekly Burschibummel and the Akademikerball”.

Some Burschenschaften are associated with right-wing or far-right ideas, in particular with the wish for a German state encompassing Austria.

Burschenschaften members identify which organisation they belong to by wearing coloured hats, and sashes around their chests. Catholic student organisations - which are traditionally against pan-German ideas - wear similar costumes.

The University did not want to give a statement to the Austrian Press Agency, as the rector is currently abroad attending a conference.

The umbrella organisation for Catholic student fraternities (ÖCV) criticised the union’s call for a ban, as it felt that Catholic groups would also be affected.

A ban would “infringe on the personal rights of many students,” it said in a press release.

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