Essex University opens investigation into Israel deputy ambassador visit

By Marcus Dysch, February 27, 2013

The University of Essex has launched an investigation into potential breaches of discipline during an incident in which Israel’s deputy ambassador to Britain was forced to flee from the university campus.

Alon Roth-Snir was speaking at the university in Colchester last week but was evacuated after around 40 students disrupted the lecture.

Proctor Jessie Mallinson has opened a process under the university's disciplinary regulations to investigate whether its code of practice on free speech was breached.

The university secretary has also asked the students' union to consider whether any of its actions breached its code of conduct.

A university spokeswoman said it was not known how long the process would last, nor how many students would be involved.

A series of anti-Israel policies are in place at the students' union, and it had actively joined a campaign against the invitation to Mr Roth-Snir to speak to the government department.

Union president Nathan Bolton said the invitation had “beggared belief” because of what he said were Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinians. He said forcing Mr Roth-Snir from the campus had been a "great day".

Following the incident a university spokeswoman said that while it was not believed that there had been a direct threat of violence to Mr Roth-Snir, a decision had been taken “quickly” to move him from the campus when the protests escalated.

The Israeli Embassy strongly condemned the incident.

Last updated: 5:23pm, February 27 2013