Universities: Bullying:Written question - 115858

Q
Asked by Andrew Percy
(Brigg and Goole)
Asked on: 27 November 2017
Department for Education
Universities: Bullying
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that universities protect pro-Israeli student societies from intimidation on campuses.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 05 December 2017

This government takes anti-Semitism extremely seriously. There is no place in our society, including within higher education, for hatred or any form of harassment, discrimination or racism, including anti-Semitism.

Higher education providers (HEPs) have a clear responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive environment, and no staff or student should ever feel threatened or intimidated. It is essential that HEPs have clear policies and procedures which set out how they meet their responsibilities to ensure that all students and staff can live and work without discrimination, intimidation or harassment.

In September 2015 the government asked Universities UK (UUK) to set up a Harassment Taskforce to consider what more can be done to address harassment and hate crime on campus, including anti-Semitism. The taskforce’s report, ‘Changing the Culture’, published in October 2016, recommended a zero-tolerance approach to harassment and hate crime.

On 27 July 2017 UUK published a directory of case studies detailing the innovative projects universities addressing the taskforce’s recommendations. These included Goldsmith’s hate crime reporting centre (case study 11) which is a joint initiative with the local authority in Lewisham and Metropolitan Police to provide students and staff with a safe space to report incidents. These are published on UUK’s website: http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Pages/changing-the-culture-case-studies.aspx. In addition, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has provided £1.8 million for projects to improve responses to hate crime and online harassment on campus.

HEFCE is currently working with UUK to test the sector’s response to the Taskforce’s recommendations and the results of this will be published early in 2018.

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