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Following a recent incident on campus where anti-Semitic graffiti was discovered in Imagine, the Students’ Union would like to reaffirm its commitment to zero tolerance towards anti-Semitism on campus.
While the incident in Imagine occurred in a physical space, this is not always the case, and we also need to be able to act should this behaviour take place in online communities such as Facebook and Twitter.
It is undeniable that social media plays a huge part in our lives and it is important to understand when subject matter strays into the realm of anti-Semitism. A seemingly innocent looking meme or post can have anti-Semitic undertones, especially if you are unaware of the source of the content or the full meaning behind it.
This is an issue that the Students’ Union is acutely aware of after the Vice President Welfare and Diversity Willow Wong shared a post on her personal social media account that fell into this category.
Following this incident, Willow would like to put on record her sincere apology to Jewish students studying at Royal Holloway for the offence she caused in sharing the post.
She now understands that when trying to tackle complicated subjects you should do so with a full understanding of the facts and, if you make a mistake, you should be willing to stand up and take ownership of that.
The Students’ Union accepts that Willow made an honest mistake that was out of character. With that in mind, she wants to reassure the Jewish community on campus that she has their back and she will be taking focused developmental training around anti-Semitism to better understand how to combat anti-Semitism in her role as VP Welfare and Diversity.
The recent incidents have also highlighted areas of Union policy that could be clarified and we are now in the process of developing a working definition of anti-Semitism to build into our Equality and Diversity Policy.
Alongside this, we will continue to lobby the College around the implementation of an online tool for reporting instances of harassment, discrimination and all other forms of hate crime which has been in the pipeline for a considerable amount of time.
Moving forward the Students’ Union is committed to working with Jewish students to understand their concerns on campus and the role we can play in allaying these fears. This is planned to take the form of a direct consultation between the Students’ Union President Clem Jones and Jewish students on campus, with a view to producing further recommendations on how the SU and the College can better demonstrate a zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism.
If at any point you witness or feel you are a victim of any instance of racism, harassment or discrimination we strongly encourage you to report this to the College’s Wellbeing Team using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
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