Backing for university hate speech guidelines

Jewish community representatives gave the thumbs up this week to new guidelines published by Universities UK on tackling hate speakers on campus.

But they expressed disappointment over the use of a fictional case study, which described Jewish students shouting down a pro-Palestinian speaker.

The guidelines proposed measures and protocols for student unions and university staff for booking and hosting speakers, including checking for links to proscribed terror groups, restricting the display of offensive banners and requesting advance notice of the content of speeches.

John Mann, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, described the report as “a valuable piece of work” which, “if implemented, will protect Jewish students and other victims of hate speech”.

He added, however, that the example citing Jewish students disrupting an event, without any reference to anti-Israel hate speakers, did not reflect reality, and would be seen by some as “crass”.

A spokesperson for Union for the Jewish Students said: “We believe that this is an important document. The guidelines will support Jewish students to continue to take the lead on shutting down hate speakers.

“While we acknowledge that some of the case-studies could be improved on, UJS broadly welcomes the document.”

Last updated: 5:45pm, December 5 2013