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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 8, No. 12. September 19, 1945

University Life In Belgium under German Occupation

University Life In Belgium under German Occupation

Belgium possesses four universities and a large number of high schools. All these institutions, whether universities or high schools, State, ecclesiastic or free, have the same legal standing. Their syllabuses are fixed by statute, but can be modified by the unanimous agreement of the four universities.

The German occupation was followed by profound changes in the university regime. Racial discrimination resulted in the dismissal of Jewish professors, while with a view to checking all tendencies to resistance, those professors who had given too much publicity to their sentiments before the war were suspended. Various other measures intended to suppress academic liberty were brought in; student meetings subjected to preliminary censorship; all student societies as well as the National Students' Union were suppressed, with the exception of the General University Associations which are of a purely technical nature. All freedom of teaching disappeared; the libraries were purged; and many text-books were suppressed by the censor. The teaching of national history and certain branches of philosophy was prohibited. Everything possible was done to impose the ideology of the occupant on the University life of Belgium.

The Belgian universities, faithful to ancient academic tradition, struggled to defend the domain of learning, as was evidenced by the denunciations of the attitude of the student body which the controlled papers published. The many edicts aimed at the universities afford additional evidence.

On March 20, 1943, the student body struck, in protest against the compulsory labour service. This was followed by an edict dated 31/¾3, mobilising all young men born in 1922, 1923 and 1924.

The German authorities have taken away much of the scientific equipment of the universities. Particular mention may be made of the electrical equipment, machines and motors taken by the Todt organisation from the Polytechnic School of the University of Brussels, portions of their stock of radium taken from the hospitals, as well as medico-surgical and laboratory material.

The library of Louvain University was burnt down by incendiaries. Only 15,000 of the 900,000 volumes were saved. Many valuable manuscripts were also lost.

Otago Soaks- Sink it Quick!

A practical demonstration in How To Drink Quick was given at the Drinking Horn, which was held at the Bowling Green (Pub! not old men's retreat).

Otago (the sots!) carried the day with a well-merited, but closely contested, win from Canterbury. Auckland and VUC were left well in the cactus, Victoria losing from Otago by a matter of three and one half handles in a six-man team. They tell me that OU put in a great deal of team practice, that no man in the team deigned to drink a 12oz. handle in less than 2 ¼ secs., and that the no-swallow method was adopted (woe is us!).

P.S.—Wellington publicans might take a lesson in co-operation from their Otago confreres.