Manchester reviews campus extremism rules

By Robyn Rosen, July 22, 2010

Manchester University has reviewed its code of practice following a series of appearances from hate preachers.

Jonathan Arkush, senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies, said he hoped the new code would be used as a "template" for other universities.

Earlier this year, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies' (FoSIS) Palestine Conference held talks at the university by Dr Azzam Tamimi, who has told students he "longs to be a martyr"; and Ben White, author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide.

In April, protesters tried to attack Israel's deputy ambassador Talya Lador-Fresher after she gave a talk to students on campus.

Last week, Mr Arkush met Dame Nancy Rothwell, the vice-chancellor of the university, to discuss its revised freedom of speech charter.

Mr Arkush said: "The code makes clear that while the university will not suppress freedom of expression, it has a duty to ensure it does not permit incitement of racial or religious hatred, or other activities likely to cause breach of peace.

"It contains a set of much tighter rules. Part of that code includes a clarification that speakers and events have to be given permission in advance and events which may affect the reputation of the university can be stopped.

"I regard this as an important addition to the university's ability to stand up to those who would refuse us and promoters of Israel freedom of speech. It gives the university a tool to address extremism and things which threaten the rights of our Jewish students on campus, and it will form a template which other universities will take up."

Carly McKenzie, campaigns director at the Union of Jewish Students, said: "UJS has worked very closely with the University of Manchester on their revised policy.

"It demonstrates that freedom of speech and the welfare of minority students are not mutually exclusive. UJS have found the university to be receptive to the issues that face Jewish students on their campus."

A spokesman from the university said the code of practice was being reviewed and would be published later this year.

Last updated: 3:49pm, July 22 2010