Universities: Antisemitism:Written question - 123060

Q
Asked by Ian Paisley
(North Antrim)
Asked on: 16 January 2018
Department for Education
Universities: Antisemitism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to tackle anti-semitism on university campuses.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 24 January 2018

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 are autonomous organisations, independent from government. They have a clear responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive environment.

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 antisemitism. 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 have developed to address the taskforce’s recommendations. These include Goldsmith’s hate crime reporting centre (case study 11) which is a joint initiative with the local authority in Lewisham and the Metropolitan Police, which provides 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 this year.

On the 16 January, the government announced a partnership between the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and the Department for Education. These departments are providing £144,261 of joint funding for a new programme to support universities in tackling antisemitism on campus. The programme will be delivered by the Holocaust Educational Trust and will involve 200 students and university leaders from across the country visiting the former Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Upon their return, they will take part in a seminar, which will deal explicitly with campus issues and how to identify and tackle antisemitism.

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