Home England government Education Secretary urges to tackle anti-Semitic abuse on campuses

Education Secretary urges to tackle anti-Semitic abuse on campuses


Urgent action needed to end anti-Semitic abuse on campuses, education secretary says ahead of summit he is hosting with vice chancellors, university officials and Jewish rights groups today (January 26).

The Antisemitism Summit, hosted by Nadhim Zahawi ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27), will examine incidents of antisemitism on campus and discuss actions and commitments that can be made to ensure that students and Jewish staff feel safe in higher education.

This could include working with the Community Security Trust (CST) to improve data reporting by universities to help get a better picture of this issue and share best practice cases. Alongside these exchanges, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) will organize a training workshop for participants on how to improve support for Jewish students who are victims of anti-Semitism.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:

In November I visited Auschwitz and was touched by the experience. Seeing firsthand the specter of a concentration camp that inflicted so much horror is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

It also strengthened my determination to fight against the persistent scourge of anti-Semitism still unfortunately present in our society. Ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day, today’s summit marks an important step towards that goal.

Education is the vaccine against anti-Semitism. No Jewish student or staff member should be subjected to anti-Semitic abuse, and by working together we will send a clear message that anti-Semitism – like other forms of racism – will never be tolerated in our classrooms or our campus.

Minister of State for Higher and Further Education Michelle Donelan said:

I am horrified at the thought of even a single incident of anti-Semitism on campus – it has no place in any of our top global universities.

I will work hand in hand with the industry to take forward the commitments agreed today and ensure suppliers have the right tools to address this issue.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to urge the few universities that have not yet signed up to the IHRA definition of antisemitism to follow in the footsteps of many others and do so now. Without universal recognition of anti-Semitism, we cannot hope for its abolition.

UJS President Nina Freedman said:

We are thrilled to be part of this summit on campus antisemitism. It’s great to see the Ministry of Education taking action on this extremely important issue. Hopefully this summit will be just the first step in a collaborative plan to combat anti-Semitism in higher education.

Antisemitism awareness training is an essential and effective tool to eradicate antisemitism in the higher education sector. We hope to empower as many people as possible to recognize and speak out against antisemitism where they see it in any form.

CST Chief Executive Mark Gardner said:

Record levels of anti-Semitism have been reported by Jewish students and teaching staff, so this is a vital meeting with the Education Secretary, Universities Minister and many Vice-Chancellors. It is university management that must take anti-Semitism seriously and fulfill its duty of care. CST looks forward to working more closely with universities to both improve the recording of antisemitic incidents on campus and to support those who suffer from antisemitic double standards, exclusion and abuse.

Invited participants at today’s summit will include vice-chancellors from universities across the country as well as industry leaders such as Universities UK and the National Union of Students alongside representatives from key Jewish organizations such as Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and Jewish Leadership. Advice.

Those present will discuss a number of potential actions to help combat antisemitism:

  • The Union of Jewish Students will facilitate a training workshop for providers to help them better understand what anti-Semitism is and support students who encounter it. Details of free training are available on their web pages.

  • Vice-Chancellors in attendance will be invited to share and publish case studies to help share best practice within the higher education community, following the successful publication of case studies by the Office for Student . Fight against anti-Semitism – Student Union

  • At the summit, leaders will hear from the Community Security Trust, which collects data across the sector, to learn how to build a better picture of patterns of anti-Semitic incidences, which can aid in targeted interventions. Reporting open data is an important step in acknowledging the problem of antisemitism on their campus and is a strong message to Jewish students that their concerns will be heard. It also helps build a picture of patterns of antisemitic incidences, which can help in targeted interventions.

The summit builds on the Department for Education’s continued commitment to working with higher education providers in England to recognize and eradicate antisemitism.

Figures published by The Times in November last year showed 111 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded at UK universities in the 2020/21 academic year, a 59% increase on the academic year former.

To formally acknowledge the problem of discrimination against Jews in the sector, last year the Ministry of Education called on more higher education providers to adhere to the International Holocaust Remembrance definition of anti-Semitism. Alliance (IHRA).

Following these calls, as of November 2021, more than triple the number of universities have signed on to this definition – up to 95 out of 28. Research by the Jewish Student Union has shown this to be a significant increase from 67 universities compared to September 2020 figures.