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Message from the Provost about antisemitism at UCL

17 May 2021

A message to all students following reports of antisemitic incidents in our community.

A view of the Wilkins Building and Portico, with blue sky

We are all grieved to see the deteriorating situation in the Middle East. I recognise that many members of UCL’s community have family and friends in the region, and many have been directly impacted by events. My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected and I join them in hoping for some kind of resolution to this conflict.

At times such as this, it is even more important to restate UCL's values and our commitment to every member of our community. From our very first days, UCL has been a place where we welcome people to study, learn and discuss, no matter what their background, beliefs or situation. This is one of our core values and remains at the very heart of everything we do.

It is in that light that I am particularly distressed that there have been a number of disturbing reports of antisemitic incidents and threats – online and in person – within the UCL community over the weekend.

We unreservedly condemn abuse, harassment or bullying directed at Jewish and Israeli students. There can never be a justification for this behaviour, but most especially at a university such as UCL. Abuse, racism and hate speech have no place here.

We will not hesitate to take disciplinary action against anyone who is found to have engaged in antisemitism, either by word or deed.

In addition, our colleagues in UCL Security are working with local police to ensure there is an increased presence around the perimeter of the Bloomsbury campus, and our security officers will remain vigilant both on campus gates when monitoring individuals’ access to campus and in work and study spaces. It is important that our campus is a safe place for all members of our community.

If you have been the victim of any kind of abuse in person or online, or if you have witnessed someone else experiencing abuse, you can:

  • Report it to the police. In the UK, you should always call 999 if you are reporting a crime that’s in progress or if someone is in immediate danger. If the crime isn’t an emergency, please call 101.
  • UCL Security can also help you if you need to report a crime to the police. Contact the team by dialling 222 from any internal UCL phone or 020 7679 2222 from a mobile or you can request an appointment with UCL’s Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Adviser, Sophie Bimson by emailing s.bimson@ucl.ac.uk.
  • Use UCL’s online Report + Support tool, where you can report incidents of bullying, harassment, sexual misconduct or hate crime. You can choose to make your report anonymously or request to contact advisor for support.
  • Use the Students’ Union UCL Hate Crime Reporting tool, where you can report anonymously.
  • Contact your Warden or Student Residence Advisor if you live in UCL-managed accommodation.
  • If you are worried about your personal safety and wellbeing, UCL's Student Support and Wellbeing team provide a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space for students to discuss any concerns you may have. Same-day appointments are available with our Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing team. To book an appointment with an adviser, please submit an enquiry through askUCL and a member of our team will be in touch, or call +44 (0)20 7679 0100.
  • UCL works in partnership with Care First, an independent advice and counselling service, to provide online and telephone counselling and advice 24/7. Students can find out more and access support on the Student Support and Wellbeing website, contact askUCL or call the Student Enquiries Centre Telephone Service on +44 (0)20 3108 8836. Staff can access CareFirst online or call 0800 197 4510 for free in the UK.

Of course, maintaining a safe and open environment at UCL is the responsibility of everyone. I am grateful that we remain a community in which we can discuss difficult issues in a way that increases understanding. But that is something to treasure. We cannot take it for granted.

Yours, Michael

Dr Michael Spence
UCL President & Provost