Rise in student antisemitism after ‘sustained drive’ to encourage reporting
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Rise in student antisemitism after ‘sustained drive’ to encourage reporting

Latest figures released by the Community Security Trust includes 123 incidents on campuses in the past two years

Antisemitic hate on a student’s t-shirt
Antisemitic hate on a student’s t-shirt

A statistical rise in antisemitism on campus followed “a sustained drive to encourage students to report incidents”, according to a report published today by the Community Security Trust (CST).

The charity, which monitors antisemitism across the UK, found 123 antisemitic incidents on campuses in the past two academic years, and said universities’ response was “inconsistent… and in some cases increased the harm felt”.

Fifteen incidents were perpetrated by staff, including four at the University of Warwick, two at the University of Leeds and two at the University of Nottingham.

At the UK’s 130-plus universities, the CST registered a growing number of antisemitic incidents over the two full years it reviewed, with 65 in 2019/20 and 58 in 2018/19.

Incidents in the report, Campus Antisemitism in Bri-tain 2018-2020, include those perpetrated by fellow students, students’ union officials and student society officers.

Universities’ responses “varied widely”, it said. One Jewish student was subjected to a disciplinary complaint by academic staff after reporting that a lecturer had made an antisemitic comment in a lecture, before the case was dropped.

Incident categories

The CST urged all universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism for “a common, accepted and practical standard with which to measure antisemitism and assess complaints”.

It also suggested that it, or the Union of Jewish Students, be allowed to submit complaints on behalf of students worried about doing so, and that complaints are resolved within “a reasonable timeframe”.

The government’s antisemitism adviser, Lord Mann, said the report “evidences a clear problem in university culture, and a lack of protection for Jewish students”.

CST chief executive Mark Gardner said the charity’s work “shows that antisemitism is a real problem for some Jewish students, mostly involving racism and ignorance from other young people, either verbally or via social media”. 

The most serious cases “occur where universities deny students adequate protection, either from visiting hate speakers or own politically-biased academics pushing conspiracy theories, including about Jews, antisemitism and the Labour Party,” he added.

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