Last week, the National Union of Students (NUS) published a report following an investigation into allegations of antisemitism within the organisation. The report highlights a historic, institutional culture within NUS which has alienated Jewish students and led to them being harassed, abused and dismissed over many years. We are saddened, disappointed, and frustrated to read about the experiences of Jewish students within our higher education community, and recognise that we must all do more to tackle antisemitism.
It is clear from the report that this independent investigation has been thorough and robust, and has sought to understand the nuanced perspectives of students, staff, elected representatives and other stakeholders. We welcome the considered approach taken and the commitment shown to highlighting the reality, scale and impact of this issue. Student Minds would like to express gratitude in particular to the Jewish students and staff who have shared their experiences openly and bravely during this investigation, in order to create change.
The report highlights that over the years, NUS has on numerous occasions had the opportunity to take the issue of antisemitism seriously and to take action in tackling it. It is frustrating to see that on each occasion, NUS failed to do this effectively. This has resulted in further harm for Jewish students, who have not been adequately supported or represented in the face of discrimination. While saddened to read these experiences, we welcome them being brought to light and considered recommendations being given to the NUS.
The recommendations and action plan set out in the report and accompanying documents are a welcome step in ensuring NUS, and the sector more widely, become inclusive, welcoming spaces for Jewish students. We do however also recognise that each recommendation and action requires long-term commitment, learning, resource and support in order for the necessary cultural change to be achieved. Student Minds will continuously reflect on the progress being made and consider our own role, responsibility and influence in supporting this.
Student Minds unequivocally condemns antisemitism in all of its forms and recognises the role that all organisations have in challenging it.
We know that recognising and tackling antisemitism isn’t just the responsibility of NUS, but the higher education sector as a whole. This includes our own organisation. We will continue to work actively to become an anti-racist organisation, including furthering our work to better understand the experiences of Jewish students and how we can help to tackle antisemitism.
There is a lot to be learned from this report, and we hope that our colleagues in universities and students’ unions will join us in working together to listen to Jewish students and take a whole-sector approach in tackling antisemitism in our communities. We look forward to seeing change in our sector and improvements in the experiences of Jewish students.
Support for Jewish students
The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) represents and supports Jewish students across the country. Explore the work that they do and their resources on their website.
Jewish students can also access direct, tailored support with Jami through a variety of different methods. Find out more about their services.
Student Space is here to help students through the challenges of university life. Use our University Support Search tool to see what services are available at your university.