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King's College London: Antisemitism

Question for Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

UIN 36143, tabled on 29 April 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, whether he has had discussions with university vice chancellors on the reported anti-Semitic incident at King's College London on 19 January 2016; and whether any people have been prosecuted for their connection with that incident.

Answered on

5 May 2016

There is no place in our society, including higher education, for bigotry, hatred and any form of racism such as anti-Semitism. We expect universities to act swiftly to investigate and address any anti-Semitic incidents reported to them. Responsibility for ensuring students do not face harassment, abuse or violence rests with individual institutions, as a clear part of their duties under the 2010 Equality Act.

In November I asked Universities UK to set up a task force to consider what more can be done to address harassment on campus, including on the basis of religion and belief. The Union of Jewish Students are part of the advisory group.

In relation to the event organised by the Kings College Israel Society, officials in my Department and in the Higher Education Funding Council for England asked Kings College what action they had taken in response, and I have met with the Principal to discuss this incident. It is completely unacceptable for legitimate free speech to be shut down on our universities campuses through intimidation and harassment and we will continue to fully support university leaders who take a strong stance on this.

Answered by

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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