The National Union of Students (NUS) has concluded a disciplinary investigation into its President. NUS has chosen to dismiss their President Shaima Dallali. This decision follows an initial independent investigation by Rebecca Tuck KC.
In a statement following NUS’ decision, the Union of Jewish Students said:
“UJS respects the decision of the National Union of Students to dismiss their President. Antisemitism in the student movement goes beyond the actions of any one individual and this case is a symptom of a wider problem. Jewish students across the country will be asking how an individual deemed unfit for office by NUS was elected in the first place. We await the findings of the substantive inquiry into NUS’ treatment of Jewish students.”
In a statement NUS said:
“Following the independent KC-led investigation into allegations of antisemitism, specifically into the then President Elect under the NUS Code of Conduct, an independent panel has found that significant breaches of NUS’ policies have taken place. As per this finding, we have terminated the President’s contract. The decision of the panel may be subject to an appeal. In strict accordance with rules around employees and confidentiality, we will not be sharing any further details on the investigation into the President. We can assure any interested parties that this process has been incredibly robust and that we can and must trust in the outcome.
We know that there will be strong feelings around this issue so we urge people to respect this process and to refrain from taking part in or perpetuating any abuse, particularly online, towards anyone involved in this matter.
Chloe Field, VP of Higher Education will step up as acting chair of the NUS UK Board and will focus on helping students through the cost-of-living crisis. We continue to work closely with the Union of Jewish Students on the wider investigation into the allegations about NUS and are exploring actions that NUS can take in the near future to build trust and confidence with Jewish students. We are sorry for the harm that has been caused and we hope to rebuild the NUS in an inclusive way – fighting for all students as we have done for the past 100 years.“
Chloe Field, NUS VP Higher Education said:
“As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, I will continue to hold the government to account and push for greater support for students. As students and apprentices reach breaking point, at NUS we have developed a series of clear recommendations for the government and education institutions to ease the burden on students, and I look forward to championing them during my time at NUS.
I am proud to fight on behalf of all of our students and therefore I am determined to work together with the Union of Jewish Students to re-establish trust in our organisation and tackle some of the biggest issues facing students right now.”
Dallali, a former President of the Students’ Union at City, University of London, previously made national headlines when she became the first NUS President to be suspended in the 100-year-old organisation’s history amidst accusations of antisemitism and homophobia.
During her election, Dallali was criticised for antisemitic posts on social media. In 2012, she tweeted: “Khaybar Khaybar O Jews… Muhammad’s army will return”, referencing a massacre of Jews in AD 628. Dallali apologised for this tweet arguing she is now “a different person”.
Dallali made no apology for her other controversial remarks telling the Guardian she had been taken out of context. Ms Dallali labelled the Jordanian cleric Dr Waseem Yousef a “dirty Zionist” in 2021 after he criticised Hamas for its actions in Gaza. Dallali replied arguing “resistance with weapons is a right and we must accept this”.
Dallali also described the cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi as “the moral compass for the Muslim community at large” in an article published in November 2018. Al-Qaradawi was previously barred from entering the UK and is notorious for his pro-Holocaust views.
Al-Qaradawi said of gay people “Some say we should throw them from a high place, like God did with the people of Sodom. Some say we should burn them, and so on. There is disagreement.”
Discussing The Holocaust, al Qaradawi said: “Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption … The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them… Allah Willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.” When asked by The Tab in 2022 if she still endorses the views of al Qaradawi, Dallali did not provide a comment.
NUS is currently in the midst of an independent investigation by Rebecca Tuck KC into wider claims of antisemitism that seeks to determine “whether NUS has done enough to make Jewish students feel welcome, included and safe in NUS spaces, activities, and in elected roles” and explores the treatment of Jewish students by NUS since 2005. Previous controversies of antisemitism in NUS include the resignation of three Jewish members of its executive in 2005, the vandalism of a UJS stand in 2012, and the removal of a convenor position on the NUS Anti-Racism Anti-Fascism (ARAF) campaign which had previously been reserved for a Jewish student. In 2016, an NUS delegate described Zionists as “sub-human rats”, and in 2017 a report commissioned by NUS revealed 65% of Jewish students disagreed or strongly disagreed that NUS would respond appropriately to allegations of antisemitism if they arose.
We recognise that there will be an impact of this on campuses, and we're here to support you as always - feel free to message your sabbatical officer or anyone at UJS if you need anything.
You can see some of the press coverage here: