National Union of Students funding suspended as government cuts ties over allegations of anti-Semitism | UK News

Allegations of anti-Semitism at the heart of the National Union of Students have led the government to suspend all involvement with the body.

NUS will be removed from all Department of Education (DfE) departmental groups and replaced with alternative student representation.

University Secretary Michelle Donelan has also called on bodies such as the Office of Students to take similar action.

NUS will now not receive state aid.

Last month, the union announced it was opening up to one independent investigation following a wave of complaints of Jewish students.

It followed DfE’s concerns about the NUS ‘”unacceptable response” to complaints about an invitation to rapper Lowkey for its 2022 conference.

It noted that the rapper had a history of making comments that “have largely been seen as anti-Semitic”.

NUS president Larissa Kennedy was alleged to have suggested Jewish students separate in a quiet area designed for neuro-divergent students so they would not hear him, which, according to the DfE, was “completely unacceptable.”

‘Anti-Semitism must be stamped out of the sector’

The DfE said any NUS investigation should lead to “significant actions” and the decision to withdraw from the NUS will be kept under review until the organization “demonstrates that it has addressed these issues appropriately”.

Mrs Donelan said: “I am appalled at the idea that Jewish students feel excluded from an organization that should be a voice for their community and an advocate for equality for all students.

“While 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, and we take these allegations with the utmost seriousness.”

Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi said he was “seriously concerned” by the number of reports of alleged anti-Semitism linked to NUS.

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Nadhim Zahawi says his department is withdrawing with NUS until the issues have been resolved

“Jewish students need to have confidence that this is a body that represents them, and we need to make sure that the students that we engage in speak fairly on behalf of all students, and that is why we withdraw us from NUS until the issues have been addressed, “he said.

‘No place in our society’

“From NUS ‘initial response to our concerns, I am convinced that they are eager to take action and welcome further updates from them. Anti-Semitism has no place in our society and we will eradicate it wherever it occurs.”

In its press release, the DfE said it was also “deeply concerned” about the social media coverage of elected NUS president Shaima Dallali, including a tweet in support of Hamas, a banned terrorist organization.

DfE noted that this was not the first time NUS had been caught in controversies over alleged anti-Semitism, including a 2005 investigation.

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In response, the NUS said it was “disappointed” that the government had announced the move through a press release instead of seeking to engage directly with it.

Following the launch of its study, the NUS said it would appoint a QC in consultation with the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) next week to conduct the study.

“We have sought to conduct the investigation in a serious and proper manner and are working with UJS at every step of the way,” a spokesman said.

He added that they looked forward to working “constructively” with the government on the matter.

In 2017, a number of student associations resigned from NUS following the election of Malia Bouattia – who had described Birmingham University as “something of a Zionist outpost” – as its president.

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