Students at the University of Essex try to block Jewish society

Hundreds of students at the University of Essex voted to block a Jewish society from being formed.

New societies at the university must be ratified by a vote on the Students’ Union website.

The motion was passed with 64 per cent support, but more than 200 students opposed it, and the Students’ Union has declared the vote null and void because non-members had voted.


MPs expressed their anger at students who described the formation of the society as a “controversial issue”.

Wes Streeting, MP for Ilford North, said: “This brings shame on the University of Essex and particularly its Students’ Union.”

Local MP Will Quince described the vote as “shocking” and “terrible”, while Stella Creasy MP commented: “This is just awful.”


The Union of Jewish Students said: “We are deeply disappointed by the significant proportion of students who have voted against the establishment of a Jewish society at the University of Essex.

“Jewish societies, of which over 60 exist on UK campuses up and down the country, provide a space for Jewish students to celebrate their culture and identity.

The fact that some students at the University of Essex deem it fit to vote against that is quite simply shocking.”

Amnesty Society

Much of the opposition was stirred up by members of Amnesty International, which said aspects of the proposed society’s manifesto – such as celebrating Israel National Day – were “very problematic and upsetting”.

“In a statement, the Amnesty society said: “Until the society is politically neutral like every other religious society we will take a stance on this. So we urge you to please vote no until they are politically neutral.”

The university’s Vice Chancellor has today confirmed he is committed to “ensuring that the Jewish Society is created… irrespective of any ratification by the Student’s Union”.

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