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Anti-Israel activists “intentionally disrupted” event, finds UCL investigation

The investigation found “evidence that a smaller group of protesters intentionally disrupted the rights of others to exercise freedom of speech within the law, and that their behaviour caused stress and anxiety to students and staff at UCL”.

    University College London has published the findings of its investigation into the events which took place last October at a UCLU Friends of Israel event, where protestors disrupted a speech given by a former Israeli soldier, Hen Mazzig.

    The investigation found “evidence that a smaller group of protestors intentionally disrupted the rights of others to exercise freedom of speech within the law, and that their behaviour caused stress and anxiety to students and staff at UCL”.

    However, it also said that “verbally hostile behaviour was not confined to protestors, with a small minority of attendees also engaging in aggressive and physically intimidatory behaviour.

    “The investigation understands from the police that allegations of assault made to them at the time have either been withdrawn or are not currently being pursued as a line of inquiry. The investigation found no evidence that any of these actions were planned or pre-meditated.”

    The report makes a number of recommendations, including suggesting the referral of “a number of UCL students… for consideration of disciplinary action under the UCL student disciplinary code.

    “UCL should develop a code of conduct for all visitors to the UCL campus.”

    It recommends that the university undertakes a “review of the operational protocol and training for high risk events”.

    The provost of the University, Professor Michael Arthur, met with Jewish students and communal organisations this afternoon, where he reportedly announced his immediate acceptance of all the recommendations made in the report. 

    Josh Nagli, campaigns director for the Union of Jewish Students, said: "We welcome the findings from University College London and are pleased they have treated this deplorable event with the seriousness it should be given.

    "The detailed report along with the strong stance taken by UCL will hopefully provide Jewish Students with a sense of encouragement that the university is working tirelessly to prevent disgraceful scenes like this from happening again.”

    Read the full report here.

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