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November 6, 2016 9:22 am

British University Ordered to Compensate Jewish Student for Rejecting His Complaints Against Campus Group’s Antisemitic Activity

avatar by Lea Speyer

Sheffield Hallam University campus. Photo: Stanley Walker.

Sheffield Hallam University campus. Photo: Stanley Walker.

A British university has been ordered to compensate a Jewish student for failing to address his complaints about rampant Jew- and Israel-hatred on campus, UK campus and antisemitism watchdog groups reported.

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) ruled that Sheffield Hallam University in South Yorkshire must pay the student — who is disabled — a sum of £3,000 ($3,750) for taking nine months to respond to a formal complaint he lodged against the antisemitic and anti-Zionist activity of certain groups at the school — and then for rejecting it. 

The OIA strongly condemned Sheffield and, in what is being called a precedent-setting move, called on the school to formally adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism — which includes certain forms of anti-Zionism — as it is “of particular relevance.”

The evidence that the student originally submitted to the school’s administration to back up his complaint was a series of social media posts written by Sheffield’s Palestine Society, which incite against Israel and Jews.

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One such post perpetuated the blood libel that Israel harvests the organs of Palestinians. Another compared Bethlehem to the Warsaw Ghetto and referred to “Zionists” as Nazi criminals. Still others accused the Jewish state of ethnic cleansing.

In addition to compensating the Jewish student and adopting a formal definition of antisemitism, Sheffield was ordered by the OIA: to review its policies; raise awareness on campus of the laws governing freedom of speech; work with the student union to guarantee that complaints are taken seriously; and ensure that the campus community is “protected from discrimination, harassment and victimization.”

The OIA handed down its verdict on October 5 and issued its recommendation on October 31.

This is not the first time a British university has had to compensate a Jewish student for antisemitic abuse. In June, the student union at the University of York was ordered to pay a law student £1,000 ($1,250)  — and issue a public apology to him — for failing to take seriously or tackle two years’ worth of attacks he endured on campus.

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