Stu­dent fears af­ter Cam­bridge’s anti-racist pol­icy is de­feated

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY RACHELLE ARU­LANAN­THAM

FEARS WERE raised at Cam­bridge Univer­sity that at­tacks on mi­nor­ity stu­dents were now pos­si­ble af­ter a pol­icy pre­vent­ing univer­sity bod­ies from giv­ing a plat­form to “racists and fas­cists” was de­feated.

The pol­icy, which says that “in­vita- tions to racists and fas­cists are dan­ger­ous to the phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal well­be­ing of our com­mu­nity”, was passed by the Cam­bridge Univer­sity Stu­dents’ Union six years ago.

But as the cur­rent pol­icy was about to ex­pire, a new, more legally work­able ver­sion had been pro­posed, up­dat­ing a list of six tar­geted groups in­clud- ing the BNP, the Na­tional Front, and Al-Muha­jiroun. The new pol­icy was de­bated at open meet­ings across Cam­bridge, with sup­port­ers gain­ing a nar­row ma­jor­ity in pledged votes from col­lege rep­re­sen­ta­tives. How­ever, af­ter de­bate at CUSU Coun­cil’s May 21 meet­ing was cut short at 15 min­utes, the mo­tion was de­feated by 38-29 votes.

Mark Wolf­son, for­mer cam­paigns of­fi­cer of Cam­bridge Univer­sity JSoc and a CUSU ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber, urged Coun­cil to re­new the pol­icy. He spoke af­ter the mo­tion’s de­feat of his fears “that we will be left with a soul­less stu­dent union, in­ca­pable of its ‘duty of care’ to the wel­fare of mi­nor­ity stu­dents in par­tic­u­lar.” Fur­ther wor­ries were raised by re­ports of a BNP stall in cen­tral Cam­bridge on the day af­ter the vote.

Andrew Noakes, a lead­ing mem­ber of the “No Plat­form” cam­paign, said: “I strongly be­lieve in the pol­icy and care very pas­sion­ately about pro­tect­ing the rights of mi­nori­ties. There is still a lot of de­bate to be had on the is­sue.”

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