The President of the National Union of Students (NUS), Shakira Martin, has apologised to Jewish students for the release of an NUS survey which asked respondents to select their religion from a long list of religions that omitted Judaism. This is not the first time that NUS has missed out its Jewish members and that Ms Martin has apologies: in July 2017, in a different survey of students, Judaism was also notably absent.
However, Ms Martin acknowledged the omission immediately, directly communicating with aggrieved students on Twitter before tweeting a heartfelt apology video, accepting that she was “accountable” and recognising “Jewish students should be pissed”. She assured students that this “would not be happening again”, “actions speak louder than words, when I said I was gonna stamp out all forms of antisemitism I’m not giving no lip service.” She acknowledged that this was a repeated issue, stating that “The first time it happened, I could tweet and say sorry,But the second time, it’s unacceptable, and I just want to reassure the whole Jewish community that I will be dealing with this.”
Ms Martin went on to discuss the context of these incidents, which came following an extremely difficult time for Jewish students under Ms Martin’s predecessor, the widely-scorned Malia Bouattia. Ms Martin was direct, saying: “I totally understand after the years – but especially last year, before my presidency, that Jewish students had – that this type of thing is not acceptable.”You will not not see Judaism on an NUS form again. I will be making sure that we will be reviewing all our forms, and that this is on everyone’s form, and that this [situation] will not happen again.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism thanks Ms Martin for her continued efforts to support Jewish students and rebuild relationships between NUS and the Jewish community. We recognise that Ms Martin has immediately responded to this latest incident with a strong and sincere apology, and we believe her when she says that this will be the last time that she has to apologise for this regrettable omission.
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