Universities must adopt internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism by Christmas or face funding cuts, warns Education Secretary Gavin Williamson

  • Gavin Williamson hits out at low rate of unis adopting anti-Semitism definition
  • Mr Williamson said it was ‘frankly disturbing that so many are dragging their feet’
  • Education Secretary said embracing statement is ‘morally the right thing to do’

Universities must adopt an internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism by Christmas or face funding cuts, the Education Secretary warned yesterday.

Gavin Williamson said it was ‘frankly disturbing that so many are dragging their feet’.

In a letter to vice-chancellors, he said the number of institutions adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism was ‘shamefully low’.

Universities must adopt an internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism by Christmas or face funding cuts, the Education Secretary warned yesterday

Universities must adopt an internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism by Christmas or face funding cuts, the Education Secretary warned yesterday

Campuses will not be allowed to ‘ignore’ the issue, as embracing the statement is ‘morally the right thing to do’, he said. 

Mr Williamson is now examining punitive options through the Office for Students (OfS), including funding cuts for universities that experience anti-Semitic incidents and fail to sign up to the definition. 

The definition, which includes comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, could also become a condition of registration.

Mr Williamson signalled he expects the ‘overwhelming majority of institutions’ to act by Christmas. It emerged last month that just 29 out of 133 UK universities have embraced the definition.

The OfS said yesterday it will explore ‘practical steps’ to ensure wider adoption of the statement.

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