The School of Oriental and African Studies has confirmed it has taken disciplinary action against a “small number” of students following rioting during an Israel society event at King’s College earlier this year.
Police were called to the King’s campus as around 20 anti-Israel protesters set off fire alarms, smashed a window and hurled chairs as former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon addressed an event that grabbed national headlines in January. A senior figure in the Israel Society also claims they were assaulted.
An investigation found that protesters “crossed a line and should be held accountable” by a disciplinary committee. Jewish News revealed in March that “sanctions” had been imposed on several individuals and that students from other London universities who were implicated in the disturbance were being investigated.
Now a SOAS spokesperson has told the Jewish News: “We have looked at the evidence provided by King’s College. Some of the students were identified as being from SOAS. As a result, we followed through our disciplinary procedure.” It said disciplinary procedures were confidential.
It comes two months after the King’s College said “sanctions have been imposed by the disciplinary committee as a result of the misconduct hearing. These sanctions are a serious matter for all concerned but are confidential to the university and individuals involved. We are therefore unable to provide more specific details, as we cannot comment on individual cases”.
The university’s disciplinary procedures include a confidentiality clause but sanctions can mean anything from a warning to suspension and expulsion. Action can also include a reprimand, payment for damage, a fine payable to charity and community service.
The Board of Deputies President and Vice President condemned the actions as “violent and criminal ”, while the he Israeli Embassy said it was “shocking and shameful”, reflecting the “fear that groups centred around hatred of Israel harbour.”
Following the incident, King’s College London Action Palestine said they “categorically condemn any aggression that took place”.
Union of Jewish Students Campaigns Director Russell Langer said they “are pleased that SOAS have taken disciplinary action”, but added it “will hopefully send a message to those who think it is appropriate to intimidate those they disagree with that these actions are simply unacceptable.
“It is also encouraging to see KCL and SOAS working together to ensure that the perpetrators are held responsible. As it is particularly common on London campuses for students to attend events held at other institutions it is essential that this collaboration continues.”