Today our blog focuses on the speech by Minister Skidmore on anti-Semitism, and an article about LGBT education in schools by Minister Gibb.
Today, Friday 17 May, the Universities Minister Chris Skidmore called for universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. He also said that it is unacceptable for certain societies to be forced to pay increased security costs at our universities. The Times, the Independent, BBC Online, and Guardian have covered the story.
The Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:
There is no place in our society for hatred or any form of harassment and it is frankly appalling that the battle against antisemitism still exists.
Free speech is vital to the independence and innovation that embodies the higher education sector and it must be protected. Not only does it fuel academic thought, but it contributes to a collective feeling of tolerance and acceptance in our universities that challenge injustice.”
In this context, it is unacceptable to oblige certain groups of students to incur additional costs because of their race or religion, just to counteract the actions of others.
Institutions like King's College London are already displaying leadership in this area but I expect our universities, as vehicles of change, to show moral leadership and accept the IHRA definition of antisemitism which shows that an institution and its senior leaders are serious about ensuring their campuses are tolerant environments where ideas and debate can flourish but persecution can never take hold.
LGBT in schools
Yesterday, Thursday 16 May, Sky News published an comment piece by the Schools Minister Nick Gibb, in which he explains the importance of teaching relationships education to primary school pupils. The new regulations will mean that from 2020, relationships education will be compulsory for all primary pupils, and relationships and sex education will be compulsory for all secondary pupils.