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Letter to Lord Mann from the Deputy Vice–Chancellor - 08.12.2020

Dear Lord Mann

Thank you for your letter dated 18th November 2020.

I am the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee at Cardiff University and have been passed a copy of your letter to consider.

We look forward to your “big announcement” later this month on the adoption and use of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. We are pleased to confirm that the Vice-Chancellor will recommend the adoption of this definition together with the additional clarifications proposed by the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2016 at the next meetings of Senate and Council on 24th February 2021 and 5th February 2021 respectively. We are also grateful to you for your confirmation at item (b) in your letter.

We agree that universities have an important role to play in providing equality on campus for students and staff, and we work with commitment and determination to achieve this. In this regard, I have appointed a Senior Compliance Adviser dedicated to Race, Religion and Belief and they lead on the Race Equality Supervisory Panel as featured in UUK’s Resource guide. The current version of the University’s Religion and Belief policy also includes a reference to the IHRA.

When the University’s Dignity at Work and Study policy was reviewed, feedback from the Students’ Union requested additional guidance be provided giving examples of the types of behaviour which would not be acceptable under the policy and this included antisemitism. To that end, we have developed a section on the student and staff Dignity at Work and Study intranet pages acknowledging the IHRA definition. We have reaffirmed the message that acts of discrimination, harassment or bullying on the grounds of an individual's perceived or actual Jewish background would be taken seriously and investigated under University procedures. We also took the opportunity to advise students experiencing hate crimes on the grounds of religion to provide reports to the Disclosure Response Team and seek support from them.

We also provide dedicated pastoral care for our Jewish students in the event that they experience antisemitism. In this regard, Cardiff University operates a non-denominational Chaplaincy service which provides:

  • access to a Jewish Chaplain through referral from our other Chaplains. Our Jewish Chaplain is in regular contact with the Jewish Student Society
  • worship and communal prayer
  • social events to meet new friends
  • opportunities to explore religious faith and issues of social justice
  • confidential pastoral listening service
  • quiet spaces for personal prayer or meditation
  • lectures and debates to facilitate and encourage academic learning in a wide-range of fields, including theology, religious studies, ethics, and philosophy
  • information about local faith communities and places of inter-faith worship events to encourage dialogue between members of different religions

We will write to you again following the meetings referred to above.

Yours sincerely

Professor Karen Holford

Deputy Vice-Chancellor