1. ITV Report

University of Essex worker suspended amid anti-Semitism row

The University of Essex. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A member of staff at the University of Essex has been suspended amid an anti-Semitism row.

Concerns were raised by the Union of Jewish Students over posts from the Facebook account of lecturer Dr Maaruf Ali in which he allegedly wrote: "The Zionists next want to create a society here at our university".

Dr Ali has now been suspended while allegations are independently investigated.

The development comes after the university's student union confirmed that a Jewish society will be created on campus regardless of a vote in which more than 200 students opposed it.

Normally, new societies at the university need to be ratified, but this step will now be skipped.

"The Students’ Union’s Sabbatical Officer team has met and, following a discussion with the Trustee Board, we have jointly made the decision to immediately ratify the Jewish Society," a spokesperson said.

"We publicly recognise the value of a Jewish Society and are proud to announce that the University of Essex Jewish Society is now established with immediate effect.

The university's vice-chancellor Prof Anthony Forster has revealed that a public event will be held on February 28 in support of its Jewish community.

"To see the University of Essex associated with antisemitism has been a deeply shocking event and one which has filled me with great sadness," he said.

"Anti-Semitism is antithetical to the values of the University of Essex and has no place at our university. We have a zero tolerance approach to harassment and hate crime which is at the very core of our values and beliefs."