University of Montana council urges removal of swastika-like symbol

The tiles show a mirror-image swastika called an aristika designed within Corbin Hall in the 1920s when swastikas were not yet adopted as a symbol by the Nazis.
University of Montana
University of Montana.gsbarclay / Getty Images/iStockphoto

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By Associated Press

MISSOULA, Mont. — A council at the University of Montana has recommended the removal of a swastika-like tile arrangement on the walls of a university hall.

The tiles show a mirror-image swastika called an aristika designed within Corbin Hall in the 1920s.NBC Montana

The tiles show a mirror-image swastika called an aristika designed within Corbin Hall in the 1920s when swastikas were not yet adopted as a symbol by the Nazis, university officials said. The symbols were originally meant to celebrate Native American and east Asian culture.

After months of calls for the tiles to be taken down amid the image's negative connotation, the university's Diversity Advisory Council voted Tuesday to recommended the tiles be removed, archived and replaced. The council will send the proposal to President Seth Bodnar.

The student and faculty senates passed resolutions this fall for the tiles to be removed before the diversity council.

Some professors have expressed concerns about letting the Nazi use of a symbol overshadow its more positive connotation in other cultures and recommended installing a plaque explaining the symbol's meaning.

The Montana Historical Society has recommended the plaque approach. The Montana Club in Helena installed a similar sign to explain its use of the symbol on its tile floor, officials said.

The university must consult with the Montana Historical Society should it seek removal, officials said.