‘Vi­o­lence is against all we stand for’

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - ED BYRNE

KING’S IS op­posed to all forms of racism, in­clud­ing an­tisemitism, and to any form of dis­rup­tive ac­tion that might in­ter­fere with the univer­sity’s core pur­pose to pro­mote schol­ar­ship and learn­ing.

Univer­si­ties play a vi­tal role in so­ci­ety as safe en­vi­ron­ments where un­cen­sored de­bate can and must take place with­out fear of in­tim­i­da­tion, not least as a way of en­cour­ag­ing stu­dents to learn to form their own opin­ions.

Our di­ver­sity is one of our great­est strengths and we are ab­so­lutely com­mit­ted to re­spect for all of our staff and stu­dents and to peace­ful and re­spect­ful di­a­logue where peo­ple have con­flict­ing views.

There is no ex­cuse for the re­ported be­hav­iour of a vo­cal mi­nor­ity of pro­test­ers last week and I have ap­pointed our head of ad­min­is­tra­tion and col­lege sec­re­tary to con­duct an ur­gent in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He will es­tab­lish an ac­cu­rate record of what hap­pened, whether King’s stu­dents alone or in­di­vid­u­als ex­ter­nal to univer­sity were in­volved, and what ac­tions might need to be taken as a con­se­quence in line with our reg­u­la­tions.

We will also ex­am­ine the ar­range­ments put in place to or­gan­ise and man­age the event and whether any im­prove­ments to our poli­cies may be needed. The find­ings will be pub­lished in early Fe­bru­ary.

In­tim­i­dat­ing be­hav­iour is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able and goes against ev­ery­thing that we stand for at King’s. We do not, and will not, con­done the use of any form of vi­o­lent protest. The safety of our stu­dents, staff and the gen­eral pub­lic is paramount to us and we are com­mit­ted to act­ing as a re­spon­si­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Our 260 stu­dent so­ci­eties and ac­tiv­ity groups hold hun­dreds of events a year across our five cen­tral Lon­don cam­puses, many of which in­volve ex­ter­nal speak­ers and pass with­out in­ci­dent. How­ever, we are not com­pla­cent and con­tinue to re­view our pro­cesses.

While the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der­way I have re­minded all of our stu­dents to be re­spect­ful of their peers’ rights to hold dif­fer­ent opin­ions from their own and to de­bate th­ese in a peace­ful and con­struc­tive way. Pro­fes­sor Ed Byrne is pres­i­dent and prin­ci­pal of King’s Col­lege Lon­don

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