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Importance of standing together against hate

24 Oct 2023

No tolerance to discriminatory behaviour

University campus

We understand that our University community, particularly those with friends, family or close ties to the region, will be deeply concerned about the escalating violence, loss of life and the dreadful situation in Israel and Palestine. For all those affected, you have our deepest sympathies and support.

Feeling safe and supported

As you would expect the University and our Students’ Union (SU) are in active and ongoing discussions with representative groups to understand how we can best ensure people feel safe and supported at this very challenging time.

In line with our values, we have consistently reaffirmed the importance of mutual understanding and tolerance at this very difficult and distressing time. 

Zero tolerance to discrimination

We absolutely recognise and support peaceful and respectful protest and the right to free speech within the law.  

However, we must again restate that any and all forms of racism, antisemitism, islamophobia, discrimination, and abuse have no place in our community. This includes statements at rallies and comments on social media.

In addition, you should also be clear that signalling support for a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK, such as Hamas, including expressing an opinion or belief that is supportive, is a criminal offence as outlined in the Terrorism Act (2000). Our global community sometimes means you are used to different rules and approaches, but this is important to understand here in the UK. 

The Students’ Union will be writing to societies and student groups reminding them of what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. 

As well as our own efforts, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are actively meeting with all Jewish and Muslim centres to offer help and added reassurance. Students and staff can report any incidents or concerns via the GMP website.   

Importance of Report and Support

We have had a small number of concerns on campus raised through our Report and Support system which are being acted upon as a priority. 

We reiterate how important it is for concerns to be reported so they can be investigated and action taken. If you or someone you know has experienced or witnessed any form of hate or have a safeguarding concern, we would urge you to report this anonymously to the University’s Report and Support Team or the Students’ Union Advice Centre, both of which have trained advisors ready to provide support.

The University also provides a professional Counselling and Mental Health Service for students, a 24 hour mental health helpline and wellbeing app, a Multi Faith Chaplaincy which welcomes people of all faith and none, and other services detailed on our Student Support page.

Wellbeing for our staff colleagues is accessible via Wellbeing StaffNet resources and our Employee Assistance Programme, Health Hero

Action on Discriminatory Posters and Graffiti 

We routinely remove fly posters of any sort found on University premises. However, where posters or graffiti are found on campus or the Students’ Union building that are discriminatory, incite racial hatred or violence, we have and will continue to remove them, making the police and authorities aware of them. They may take action against those individuals or organisations who are putting them up. Where such inappropriate material is on streets or bus stops, we have reported such instances to the local authority to remove as is required and will continue to do so. 

Ongoing communication and engagement

We have made joint statements from the University and Students Union, and from our Jewish and Muslim Chaplains, reminding of the need for tolerance, that discrimination has no place on our campus, and reminding them of the support they can access. We are continuing to communicate these important messages and offer additional support, and to act appropriately at all times. 

Humanitarian and fund-raising support

We have a conflict and humanitarian disaster website which may provide additional information and assistance. Furthermore, the following Disasters Emergencies Committee (DEC) charities have launched appeals to help civilians affected by the violence and they are urging anyone wishing to help to donate below: 

Mitigating circumstances

If there are circumstances affecting your studies/research, you may be able to request support under our mitigating circumstances procedures.

In conclusion

You can be assured of our commitment to good community relations at this difficult time. As we have said, we recognise and support peaceful and respectful protest and the right to free speech within the law and we will work tirelessly to ensure that our community remains a safe and welcoming place for all.  However, any and all forms of racism, antisemitism, islamophobia, discrimination, and abuse have no place in our community. 

The University of Manchester                    The University of Manchester Students’ Union