December 17, 2006

Leeds Uni "gagging" update

Two letters in the Jewish Chronicle this weekend disputing the "Jewish" Society's claim of being gagged by the university's Students' Union.
Leeds united
15/12/2006
The University of Leeds is proud to be multicultural, with over 100 nationalities and many faiths here. We expect all members of the university to behave according to our values, which include academic freedom, critical independence, diversity, and mutual respect. We will not tolerate any kind of harassment of students, staff or visitors on our campus.

We are committed to promoting and positively encouraging free debate and enquiry, which means that we tolerate a wide range of views, even when they are unpopular, controversial or provocative. We expect speakers to respect the values of our civilised, inclusive society, and in particular to demonstrate respect to all sections of our community.

The referendum decision (JC, December 8) does not remove any rights from Jewish students or conflict with the university’s values. People may criticise the policies of the state of Israel, but they may not be antisemitic. Be assured that we would act swiftly and decisively in the (very unlikely) event that any antisemitism were to emerge at Leeds.

(Professor) Michael Arthur,

Vice-Chancellor,

University of Leeds, Leeds

Contrary to your report that Jewish students had been “constitutionally gagged” and stripped of “basic rights enjoyed by others,” all students enjoy freedom of speech equally on the Leeds campus.

Following the outcome of the referendum, we will continue to build positive relationships between groups and individuals on campus, and we assure all students that, regardless of belief or background, their safety and welfare are paramount.

The motion in no way changes Jewish students’ right to support the state of Israel or debate the issue. The students’ union provides opportunities for debate and expression; we will not tolerate behaviour which strays into the realms of racial or religious hatred.

Michael Damola Timeyin,

Communications and Democracy Officer, Leeds University Union,

Lifton Place, Leeds
Now to get one letter flatly contradicting a front page story maybe considered a misfortune but two, well....

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