Oh dear. Over the past few years, the National Union of Students has found itself in the headlines over the union’s relationship with Jewish students. When Malia Bouattia was elected NUS president in 2016, three vice presidents of the NUS accused their president of ‘anti-Semitic rhetoric’ – with Bouattia referring to Birmingham University as a ‘Zionist outpost’. An internal report later ruled that she should not be punished despite making comments found to be anti-Semitic. What’s more, a report just last year found that many Jewish students ‘do not feel their institution understands their needs’.
Since then – and with a new president now at the helm – there has been talk of a new era in campus relations after NUS officers held talks with a Jewish student leader.
So, Mr S was curious to learn of a survey sent to students this week. The NUS survey is part of a drive by the union to undertake research to understand the experiences of Muslim students in further and higher education. In order to make sure those surveyed are eligible, students are asked to pick their religion from a list of options.
However, while Christian, Buddhist, Agnostic, Sikh, Athiest and Hindu are all listed, ‘Jewish’ appears to be missing:
No doubt an innocent mistake…
The NUS sent out a survey asking for people’s religion. They gave a lot of options but forgot one of the biggest religions in the U.K.
You’ll never guess which one. pic.twitter.com/CvfayaHAWk
— Tom Harwood (@tomhfh) January 4, 2018
Update: Following Steerpike’s story, the NUS have issued a statement apologising:
‘This is totally unacceptable and we apologise for the omission of Judaism from the survey. We have amended the question and are taking steps internally to ensure that this does not happen again. NUS is a place for all students and we want Jewish students to feel able to participate and engage with all of our structures. We understand as a collective movement that we must enable and ensure Jewish students feel welcome in our spaces and our work.’
A message from me to all Jewish Students https://t.co/oDob2AQ7Y5
— Shakira Martin (@ShakiraSweet1) January 5, 2018