As we enter the summer period, most people would think it is a quiet time for students when they have gone home, exams are over. So, what does that mean for UJS? Well, I can tell you that it is not a quiet period for us.
It is the start of our Antisemitism Awareness Training campaign, where myself and our campaigns officer, Faye Huberman, will be travelling the country (both physically and virtually) delivering training to student unions. This training is an integral part of the campaign’s teamwork and the last academic year we delivered over 55 sessions to student unions, university staff and local student leaders.
Why is this so important? Firstly, antisemitism in the UK is on the rise and this is replicated on campus, so for us to tackle it we need to be educating the campus community to be confident in calling out anti-Jewish racism and to stand up for Jewish students. Jewish students need their universities and student unions to support them, the burden of combatting antisemitism cannot be only on Jewish students. The responsibility is on everyone, and this is why the training is critical.
The one thing I personally have found incredibly insightful and eye-opening is that for some this training is the first time they have learnt about antisemitism or even spoken to a Jewish person and having the opportunity to provide some education on how they can support Jewish students and understand antisemitism is incredibly rewarding. The training is not the end to one’s education about antisemitism, in fact it is only the beginning. Antisemitism is one of the oldest forms of discrimination and years of racism cannot be explained fully in 2 hours. The main aim of the training is to empower the student union staff and officers to feel confident in calling out antisemitism, to be aware of the unique Jewish student experience and develop initiatives and ideas in how they can directly support Jewish students.