"Burschenschaften", as a particular type of German-nationalist student fraternity, have partaken in shaping Austrian politics in numerous ways since the nineteenth century. Based on sources from fraternity archives, this article addresses their involvement in the conflict over South Tyrol. It assesses the importance awarded to the topic by Austrian "Burschenschaften", portrays the various ways in which they intervened in the conflict, and assesses how these interventions influenced the course of events. Particular attention is given to the central role of fraternity members in the conflict's violent escalation in the 1960s. On a more general level, the case serves to illustrate the differences between a völkisch (rigidly ethno-nationalist and anti-individualist) perspective on ethnic and minority rights, and a universalist-democratic approach.