In the last fortnight we have received an application from students for a Jewish Society to be established through the Students' Union.
The following statement explains how this application has been progressed and also our view as a Union on some of the resulting debate that has followed both inside and outside of the University.
The University of Essex Students' Union welcomes the proposed establishment of a Jewish Society by our student members and recognises the importance of such a society.
As a Union we reject any form of hate speech and we are taking all reports of anti-semitic behaviour extremely seriously and ensuring that these are investigated and acted upon.
In particular we are extremely concerned by reported comments by a member of University staff and we are representing these concerns and those raised by our members, to the university.
Essex Students' Union has a proud history of inclusivity and our 16,000 student members come from an incredibly diverse range of nationalities, cultures and religions - we will act to make sure that these ideals continue to be upheld.
How an SU society is ratified
The Students' Union currently supports more than 120 student societies, covering a diverse range of topics including culture, music, arts and religion.
Any group of students can set up a society and all applications go to the Societies Guild Committee for approval before going out to a democratic vote by students, which decides whether or not the society will be ratified.
Ratification of the Jewish Society
The application for a Jewish Society was approved by the Societies Guild Committee on Tuesday 12 February and was put online for students to vote upon.
This morning the Students' Union was made aware of an irregularity which allowed non-society members to vote in the ratification. As soon as this was brought to our attention we investigated and as a result have declared the current vote null and void, due to us no longer being able to ensure the vote has been free and fair.