Government cuts ties with NUS over 'horrifying' anti-Semitism claims

Government cuts ties with the National Union of Students over ‘horrifying’ allegations of anti-Semitism

  • The Department for Education has been ordered to ‘disengage’ with the NUS
  • It comes after ‘repeated’ allegations of anti-Semitic behaviour within the union
  • Higher education minister Michelle Donelan said it should take ‘decisive’ action
  • The union cannot access and will not be able to apply for Government funding 
  • Other bodies, such as the Student Loans Company, are urged to do the same

The National Union of Students was last night frozen out by the Government following anti-Semitism allegations.

Higher education minister Michelle Donelan instructed the Department for Education (DfE) to ‘disengage’ with the NUS until further notice.

The union will be removed from all DfE stakeholder groups and replaced with alternative student representation in discussions about higher education.

Other official bodies, including the Student Loans Company and the Office for Students, are being urged to take similar action.

Higher education minister Michelle Donelan (pictured) has instructed the Department for Education (DfE) to ‘disengage’ with the NUS until further notice

As part of the clampdown, the NUS cannot access or apply for government funding until ministers’ concerns are addressed. 

Miss Donelan yesterday demanded the organisation take ‘decisive and effective action’ in tackling ‘repeated’ allegations of anti-Semitic behaviour.

She said: ‘I am horrified by the thought of Jewish students feeling ostracised by an organisation which should be a voice for their community and an advocate of equality for all students.

‘Although this was a decision that the department did not take lightly, we have been clear that anti-Semitism must be stamped out of the sector.

‘While our door is not closed to the NUS, our message could not be simpler.

‘We need decisive and effective action in response to these repeated allegations. We are glad that the NUS has started to respond and are ready to work with them again when sufficient action has been taken.’

The move comes just months after Jewish student groups claimed they had been ‘failed’ by the NUS, which had invited controversial rapper Lowkey to appear at its centenary event. 

The rapper – real name Kareem Dennis – had previously expressed support for Professor David Miller, a former sociology lecturer at Bristol University who was sacked after alleged anti-Semitic comments.

Other worrying examples cited by the DfE include NUS president-elect Shaima Dallali’s social media comments.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi (pictured holding a commemorative Jubilee book during a visit to a school) said he was ‘seriously concerned’ about the allegations of anti-Semitism linked to the NUS 

The City University activist, 27, who takes up the position from July, has faced a fierce backlash over old posts including an ancient battle cry relating to a massacre of Jews.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi added: ‘I am seriously concerned to hear of so many reports of alleged anti-Semitism linked to the NUS.’

The NUS said: ‘We are disappointed that the universities minister has press-released that the DfE will be disengaging with NUS rather than seeking to engage with us directly. 

‘Following a complaint about anti-Semitism, we launched an independent investigation. We will be appointing a QC, in consultation with the Union of Jewish Students, next week.’

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