Following the publication of the Institutional Racism Review (IRR) into the National Union of Students (NUS), UJS Campaigns Director Josh Nagli said:
'It is clear that NUS will face challenges in breaking down the barriers that Black and Minority Ethnic students continue to face when engaging in its structures. UJS looks forward to playing its part and helping to create a more inclusive and welcoming space for all students.
'However, many Jewish students are likely to be disappointed because, despite the NUS National President insisting that the report would look into all forms of racism, ‘which includes antisemitism’, there seems to be a lack of any in-depth examination of the challenges facing Jewish students.
'This is especially disappointing in light of the fact that Jewish students continue to articulate the struggles they face when engaging with the NUS. This issue was highlighted by the recent Home Affairs Select Committee report and reaffirmed by Government in its response, and it was expected that this would be addressed in the IRR.
'The report’s treatment of the media coverage of this year’s National Conference is particularly troubling. In no way should reporting allegations of antisemitism be seen as negative reporting. By comparing the use of the word ‘antisemitism’ to words such as "shock" and "controversy", the report trivialises antisemitism. This only goes further to delegitimise the real experiences of Jewish students.
'In the past year, the IRR, despite the lack of in-depth analysis, and the Home Affairs Select Committee report have together drawn attention to the urgent need to address the challenges facing Jewish students regarding antisemitism. In addition to Rob Young’s research into Jewish students’ experiences, it is imperative that NUS takes further action to ensure that Jewish students are able to engage safely and positively in its structures.
It is evident that there is further work to do in order to tackle the issues that are highlighted in the report, particularly on the understanding of and engagement with race and racism, including islamophobia and antisemitism. We look forward to working with the necessary groups to address this and the many other shortcomings that were highlighted in the report.'