The Middlesex University Board of Governors has unanimously agreed that the institution will adopt in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism* with immediate effect. The decision has the full support of the Students’ Union (MDXSU).
In recent weeks the University has explored the definition with students and staff as well with their Students’ Union, the University Jewish Society and local and national Jewish and multi faith groups.
Commenting on the move, Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University, Professor Nic Beech, said:
“Middlesex is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and has a long history of promoting anti-racism. We are proud to be one of the most diverse universities in the UK and to be situated in the heart of the largest Jewish population in Europe.
“I am extremely grateful to local and national Jewish groups who have spent time with me and colleagues to increase our understanding of the definition. While there have been criticisms that adopting the definition could limit academic freedom, our view is that the definition can be applied in a way which enables dialogue and discussion within and between faiths. Our commitment to anti-racism is equalled by our defence of academic free speech.”
“Racism in all its forms is wrong. We strive to be a place where everyone is safe and free to flourish without fear of discrimination. In order to maximise the value of the IHRA definition we will need to embed it meaningfully across the University. This is not the end point but rather the beginning in how we hope to continue working with the Jewish community as well as other communities across our diverse and deep global network for the benefit of all.”
The Middlesex University Students’ Union expressed their support for the University’s decision. Tahmina Choudhury, Vice President of the Students’ Union said:
“Whilst this definition is not without criticism or universal, we accept that it is the most accepted definition of antisemitism within the Jewish Community. We also believe that in order to tackle an issue you need to be able to define it and we therefore support this decision.
“We are proud to represent students from many faith backgrounds as one of the most diverse universities in the world. We would therefore welcome the University committing to positive action to tackle all forms of faith based prejudice.”
The full IHRA definition is available at: https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/resources/working-definitions-charters/working-definition-antisemitism