Thank you for contacting me about Israel Apartheid Week campaigns.
I would like to make it clear that I condemn all acts of antisemitism in the strongest possible terms. Any discrimination or hostility based on religion or race is deplorable and there is no place for it in our society. Acts of hatred in any form will not be tolerated, and I am assured that the Government is committed to addressing antisemitism wherever it occurs.
All institutions, including universities, have a responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive environment. All higher education institutions have a legal obligation for ensuring that students do not face discrimination, harassment, abuse or violence. Universities are expected to have robust policies and procedures in place to comply with the law, and to investigate and swiftly address any hate crime and anti-Semitic incidents that are reported.
In 2015 Universities UK (UUK) was asked to set up a Harassment Taskforce to consider what more can be done to address harassment on campus, including on the basis of religion and belief. Last year, it published a directory of case studies detailing the innovative projects universities have developed to address the taskforce's recommendations. Further to this, the Higher Education Funding Council for England has provided £1.8 million for projects to improve responses to hate crime and online harassment on campus. In addition, I welcome the new partnership between the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Education, which is providing nearly over £144,000 of joint funding for a new programme to support universities in tackling antisemitism on campus.
Our universities have a proud history of encouraging freedom of speech and freedom of religion. However, I share your view that there is no place in any education institution for hatred and no student should face discrimination, harassment or racism - including antisemitism.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.