Ministers banned official contacts with the National Union Students due to long-standing allegations of anti-Semitism within the organization, despite NUS ’promise to work with Jewish students as part of an internal investigation.
The allegations became the focus of the government after the election of Shaima Dalali as the next president of NUS, and groups, including the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), expressed concern after alleged historical comments surfaced.
Nadhim Zahavi, the education secretary, announced the suspension of NUS recognition, saying he was “seriously concerned” by reports of alleged anti-Semitism.
“Jewish students need to be confident that this is the body that represents them, and we need to make sure that the student groups we work with speak fairly for all students, so we abandon NUS until the issues are resolved. was considered, “Zahavi said.
“Based on NUS’s initial response to our concerns, I’m confident they are ready to take action and welcome further updates from them.”
Michelle Donelan, the Minister of Higher and Further Education of England, announced that she had written to the electoral body that oversaw this year’s NUS presidential election, asking to provide information on how the election took place.
NUS represents seven million students from universities and colleges with 600 student unions. The suspension only affects his relationship with the government in Westminster, not in other countries.
Matt Western, Minister of Shadow Universities of the Labor Party, said it was important for Jewish students to feel safe and able to participate in student organizations. “It is important that NUS listens, and I hope that an independent investigation, which they conducted properly, will resolve these issues to the satisfaction of all concerned,” he said.
The Department of Education (DfE) said: “Although the NUS has demonstrated a willingness to respond to concerns expressed by ministers, including launching an independent investigation process, this should lead to significant action.
“This decision to withdraw from UXO will be considered as the organization demonstrates that it has properly addressed these issues.”
A spokesman for NUS said: “We are disappointed that the Minister of Universities has told the press that DfE will be seceding from NUS and not seeking to interact with us directly.
“After the complaint about anti-Semitism we launched an independent investigation. We will appoint the QC in consultation with the Jewish Students Union next week. We have endeavored to investigate seriously and properly and work in collaboration with UJS at every stage.
“Once the Criminal Code is appointed, we will be able to update the process and deadlines. We look forward to working constructively with the government on this issue. “
DfE said that during the suspension NUS will be removed from all government groups and replaced by alternative student representatives. The department is asking independent bodies, including the Office of Student Affairs, the regulator of higher education, to take similar action.
Following Dalali’s election earlier this year, UJS objected to comments she allegedly made, including a tweet posted 10 years ago that read, “Khybar Khaybar, Jews … Muhammad’s army will return Gaza,” citing an attack on Jews of 628 AD.
Dalali, president of the City of London Students’ Union, apologized for the tweet, saying she was not the person she was then.
In an interview with The GuardianDalali, 27, said she had received many Islamophobic and racist abuses online since her election. “Unfortunately, as a black Muslim woman, I expected this because I saw it happen to other black Muslim women,” she said.