After the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, reiterated his call on universities to adopt the Definition, Lancaster University reportedly said: “Our University is committed to building a diverse, inclusive environment where people are able to reach their potential free from prejudice. Antisemitism, racism or hate speech of any form will not be tolerated. With the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor in May 2020, the university’s policies to support equality and diversity are under review as part of a wider Strategy update. A more formal consideration of the [International D]efinition of Antisemitism may take place as part of this. At this stage, no specific timetable relating to any consideration to adopt the [D]efinition has been set, however the matter will be discussed by University management in due course.”
However, the University’ Jewish Society has protested the University’s inaction, with its President saying “We would like it to be implemented. We have never said you can’t have valid criticisms or anything like that. Not adopting this Definition is in itself antisemitic. There is no disadvantage in adopting this Definition.”
The Jewish Society’s Campaigns Officer said: “It is shameful that people in 2020 can’t accept a definition that protects against hate…We love Lancaster, it’s an amazing place, we are heavily involved in campus life and the community. The work we are trying to do is relating to us improving the prospects of Lancaster students because the university can do better and we want them to do better.”
The President added: “We will not stop working until this Definition is adopted.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has consistently backed efforts by the Government to encourage widespread adoption of the Definition by local authorities, universities and public bodies. The UK was the first country in the world to adopt the International Definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism, Lord Eric Pickles and others worked hard over many meetings with officials at Downing Street.
If any students are concerned about antisemitism on campus or need assistance, they can call us on 0330 822 0321, or e-mail [email protected]