‘Antisemitism has no place at our University’

Andreea Szasz talks about the Jewish society controversy and its aftermath.

Hundreds of students, staff and members of the public gathered in Square 2 last week to show solidarity to the Jewish community after the anti-semitism row.

The gathering was organised by the university as a series of measures to tackle the controversy. The row broke out after more than 200 people voted against the ratification of the Jewish Society, since then this society was ratified with immediate effect.

People standing in solidarity against antisemitism. Picture by: @essexsu

Speakers such as our Student Union president, the Vice-chancellor, the president of the Jewish society, and the Colchester Council deputy leader – Tim Young addressed the crowds at the rally.

The university’s vice-chancellor, Anthony Forster organised the public rally to show that “anti-Semitism has absolutely no place” in today’s society.

SU president, Tancrede Chartier said: “The SU will support the Jewish community. We have a commitment to inclusivity. “This is the beginning to a conversation, not the end. We have a new and better platform for the benefit of Jewish students.”

The president of the Jewish Society, Amy-Julie Fogiel, a first year law student said: “This speech is not about hate and anti-semitism, because it’s not what I want to remember. What I want to remember from this week is the solidarity from the Jewish and University community.”`

“We are students from all over the world with different Jewish identities, and all we want to do is celebrate these identities. Creating a Jewish society is not about anti-semitism or conflict, it is about sharing knowledge.”

There will be a new ‘Friends of Jewish Society” membership set up for non-Jewish students so that everyone can participate.

Colchester Borough Council’s deputy leader, Tim Young said: “Colchester condemns anti-semitism. We will continue to fight anti-semitism. We will make sure that civilisation  prospers in Colchester and that love always conquers hate.”

The university has confirmed an investigation looking into the claims a member of staff allegedly posted racist material online was continuing.

Computer science lecturer Dr Maaruf Ali – who has been suspended – allegedly wrote on Facebook that “…the Zionists next want to create a society here at our university…”.

Other posts, which have since been deleted, appeared to deny the Holocaust.

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