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March 16, 2023 3:00 pm

University of Leeds Settles Antisemitism Lawsuit by Paying Undisclosed Sum


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Parkinson Building at the University of Leeds in England. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The University of Leeds this week settled for an undisclosed sum a lawsuit which alleged that several professors purposefully gave a Jewish student, Danielle Greyman, a low mark for a paper critiquing Hamas. The decision reportedly prevented her completing undergraduate studies in sociology on time and pursuing a masters degree.

“We are very pleased with the settlement and hope that it will serve as a warning to universities and academics not to allow marking to be influenced by the anti-Israel bias which is so prevalent in academia,” Greyman’s lawyer, Jonathan Turner of UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), told The Algemeiner during an interview on Thursday.

Responding to an inquiry, University of Leeds denied fault, insisting that an internal review of the incident cleared the professors “of any wrongdoing” and that it embraces the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

“The listing of this claim in the small claims court was surprising and unexpected,” a spokesperson said. “As a consequence, and on the commercial direction of our insurers, an offer without any admission of liability was made by the university which was accepted by the claimant. This offer was made expressly on the basis that the university does not accept any liability nor accept that the claimant has suffered any loss.”

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According to court documents filed last July, during Greyman’s senior year in 2021, she enrolled in a course — “State Crime and Immorality” — for which the only assignment was a 4,500-5,000 essay on its subject. She submitted a paper arguing that Hamas’ administration of the Gaza Strip has victimized Palestinians and, the complaint said, “benefits from the conflict with Israel and the contribution made by the United Nations to Hamas corruption.”

Greyman alleged that despite confirming the topic and scope of the essay with the course’s professor and tutor, their assistants gave the assignment a low grade of 35, followed by a failing mark for the course, which was the last she needed to graduate.

The failing grade forced Greyman to complete a revised paper while appealing her grade and ultimately prevented her attending Glasgow University, she argued, which had conditionally accepted her as a graduate student. Although an independent examiner later ruled that the essay met the criteria outlined in the assignment prompt, the appeals process dragged on for a year.

Greyman’s attorney told The Algemeiner that she did eventually graduate from Leeds and, after deciding not to attend graduate school, had chosen to immigrate to Israel.

In a statement posted to UK Lawyers for Israel’s website, Greyman said, “I am grateful for the support that UKLFI and the wider Jewish community has provided, and I hope this encourages other students to take action against institutions that do not uphold their responsibility of ensuring academic freedom and fair marking.”

Greyman added that “this has been a long and emotionally draining process.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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