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News Staffordshire University adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism

Staffordshire University has adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism as part of its ongoing commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion

The announcement comes ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day
Image: The announcement comes ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day

At Staffordshire University we strive to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all members of our community. Our decision to adopt the IHRA definition is a crucial step in combatting prejudice and makes clear that antisemitism will not be tolerated at our institution.

Professor Liz Barnes CBE DL, Vice-Chancellor

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition, which has been adopted by universities and other organisations around the world, outlines antisemitism as:

“A certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

It is the latest action taken by Staffordshire University to support its existing policies to tackle racism, discrimination, harassment and bullying. The University’s Inclusion Champion Network and the Staffs Uni Inclusion Group has led on the work.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Liz Barnes CBE DL, said: “At Staffordshire University we strive to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all members of our community. Our decision to adopt the IHRA definition is a crucial step in combatting prejudice and makes clear that antisemitism will not be tolerated at our institution.

“We are committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination and will continue to promote a positive culture where staff, students and visitors are confident to be their authentic selves and are able to achieve their potential free from prejudice.”

To ensure that freedom of speech is not affected, Staffordshire University has adopted the IHRC definition with the following caveats, which were recommended by the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2016:

  • It is not antisemitic to criticise the government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent
  • It is not antisemitic to hold the Israeli government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent

Freedom of speech within the law for all staff, students and visiting speakers is guaranteed by Staffordshire University’s Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech, which will not be affected by adoption of the statement and definition.

The announcement comes ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday 27 January when Staffordshire University staff, students and the wider community will reflect on the impact of the Holocaust on individuals and communities. This includes dedicated online resources and the readings of poems to commemorate this year’s theme ‘Be the light in the darkness’.

Professor Barnes added: “It is particularly fitting that this announcement comes as the world prepares to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. We must remember the atrocities of the past and must also not forget that many people still face persecution and genocide today. It is only through taking action and speaking out that we can prevent it happening.”

 

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