The head of the National Union of Students has expressed her dedication to “making a systemic change to the culture of the organisation” to combat Jew-hatred among its members.
Speaking at at a parliamentary briefing on campus antisemitism on Wednesday afternoon, Shakira Martin described having met the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) “a couple of times since being elected” in April and “working directly with the Holocaust Educational Trust” in an effort to improve relations with Jewish students.
The relationship between NUS and UJS had become strained under Ms Martin’s predecessor, Malia Bouttia, who had made antisemitic comments.
Professor Edward Byrne, principal and president of King’s College London, spoke about his previous experience as vice-chancellor of Monash University in Melbourne Australia, and said that prejudice against Jews was noticeably more prevalent on campus in the UK.
“When I came to King’s three and a half years ago, the difference was immediate. There was something in the air here that there just hadn’t been in Australia,” he said.
Liron Velleman, of the Union of Jewish Students discussed called for “a joined up approach” to tackling antisemitism on campus.
“Too often a Jewish student will make a complaint to their university, but that won’t get translated to their student union, or vice versa.” he said. “There are so many institutions on campus where people can go for support, but they’re not always joined up in their thinking.”
The briefing, held by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Against Antisemitism, was also attended by Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary.