Quoting a German World War Two general may not be the best way to inspire young people, as a British school learned this month. Now Exeter University in South West England has apologized after sending a mass email to staff and students quoting former general Erwin Rommel, USA Today reports. "One cannot permit unique opportunities to slip by for the sake of trifles," reads the quote, apparently spoken by the general in his North African campaigns against British troops, per the BBC. Seems the June 4 email aimed to inspire students to seek out career options. A university spokesman blamed a staff member who didn't recognize Rommel's name.
"A member of staff used the public, free access website 'Quotefancy' to find a quotation for use as part of an internal email," says the spokesman. "Unfortunately, the staff member did not recognize the name attributed to the generated quote." (And to be fair, there is debate among historians about how much Rommel endorsed the Nazi regime.) The Exeter student newspaper the Falmouth Anchor, which broke the story, says "it is evident that there was no malicious intent in choosing the quote," but Fox News says the National Union of Students isn't taking it lightly. Jewish students feel "increasingly unsafe" at universities and avoid some schools over "fears of anti-Semitism," the group says, adding that "Exeter must take appropriate action to rectify the damage" and make sure "something like this will never happen again." (Read more Nazis stories.)