UJS welcomes the release of NUS’ Race Equity Plan to Tackle Institutional Racism, which looks at a five-year approach to tackling institutional racism experienced by Black, Muslim and Jewish staff, officers and volunteers. We are particularly glad that specific focus was taken to address the well-documented issues of antisemitism that Jewish students have highlighted in recent years.
As the national representative body for Jewish students in the UK and Ireland, as recognised by NUS and as stated in the Race Equity Plan, UJS is keen to continue to work towards creating positive experiences for Jewish staff, officers, volunteers and event delegates within NUS. We commend the steps mentioned in the plan to improve this including:
- Sharing the agreed IHRA definition of antisemitism
- Providing support on fasting, prayer spaces and catering at NUS for Jewish students
- Reviewing how NUS deal with incidents of antisemitism
- Coordinating events for Holocaust Memorial Day
- Amending all diversity monitoring processes to ensure that Jewish is a category for both ethnicity and religion
UJS are also looking forward to working with NUS to provide guidance on understanding the impact of language in debating and discussing topics such as Israel and Palestine. Topics such as these are important parts of campus conversations but often can make Jewish students feel uncomfortable. We are glad that NUS will be looking to provide models of dialogue and good practice guidelines for Students’ Unions and others.
After a difficult few years for Jewish students within NUS, we hope the Race Equity Plan is another step in restoring and developing trust between our organisations’ membership and we look forward to working with NUS to monitor their progress on these activities over the coming months.