We know that everyone who is part of the Loughborough community remains shocked and dismayed by the continuing violence we see. Together with all members of our community, we continue to call for peace and an end to this violence and the tragic loss of human life.
We know some of our staff and students have been directly impacted and have lost or are concerned for family members. Details of the support available to all staff and students at both the University campuses are available below.
Last week the Chaplaincy also facilitated two Peace Cafes – one each for members of our Jewish and Muslim communities – to promote healing, fellowship and community. The Cafes provided a safe, welcoming and neutral environment away from the busyness of day-to-day life, enabling staff and students to come together to support each other. Further Peace Cafes will be held in the coming months.
Support available for all students
This support is available for all students, explicitly including all those affected by the conflict in the Middle East and those who have experienced conflict elsewhere in the world.
Student Services (Email: email@example.com, Tel: 01509 222765) offers a range of support, including mental health and wellbeing, and advice specifically for international students. One-to-one support with an advisor is also available. If you would like to access this support, please complete the online referral form or call the number above.
The University Chaplaincy (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 01509 223741) offers a space for quiet reflection. University Chaplains are here to listen, here to care, and here to help all staff and students. No appointment is necessary.
If you feel your studies are being affected, you can contact your Academic School and/or Personal Tutors so that we can provide the right support to you. If you wish, you can also submit an individual Mitigating Circumstances claim to explain how you have been impacted by recent events. More information on this can be found in the Student Handbook.
Support for all staff
This support is available for all colleagues, explicitly including all those affected by the conflict in the Middle East and those who have experienced conflict elsewhere in the world.
Should you need some time away, we would like to draw attention to our compassionate leave arrangements, including our specific policy related to race-based stress, which offers pre-approved compassionate leave for the reason of race-based stress.
We restate for clarity that it is not antisemitic for an individual to express support for the Palestinian people or to participate in peaceful protest. This blog post from earlier this year explores how issues of freedom of expression and harassment are context-specific. We have also issued guidance on considerations around academic freedom. The University has previously shared information on the definitions of racism with our community and we take this opportunity to do so again.
We have a responsibility to permit and protect free speech within the law: The University supports everyone’s right to freedom of expression. Free speech within the law is protected. We do however ask that people continue to be considerate to each other given international events and reports of hate speech in the UK, which has made some people feel unsafe.
Free speech is not unfettered, and we continue to remind you that hate speech and support for proscribed organisations (such as Hamas) is an offence under UK law.
We will not tolerate hate in our community; whether this is in the form of antisemitism, islamophobia or harassment of any kind. If any member of the community experiences this, we ask you to report it to us; we will support you and deal with it.
We have received questions and concerns about how the Prevent Duty operates. Some members of our community are concerned that by exercising their legitimate rights to free expression and academic freedom within the law, detailed above, they will be drawn into the remit of the Duty. We share the information below in order to reassure that this is not the case.
Under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, the University must have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This is commonly referred to as the Prevent Duty.
Anyone who is deemed at risk of being drawn into violent extremism can be referred to Prevent. Referring someone ensures they get the help they need to keep them and others safe. People are not referred to Prevent for expressing peaceful views, even if radical.
Getting support from Prevent is not a punishment and won’t go on a person’s criminal record. Referrals are not made to the Home Office.
No referrals into Prevent were made by the University in 2021/22 or 2022/23. Of five cases of concern considered by the University’s Prevent lead during this period, none related to extreme Islamist views.
The University has established a group to help guide us through this difficult period. It includes our Middle East envoys, colleagues from EDI Services, LSU, Legal and Student Services, our London campus, the leadership of our Chaplaincy, as well as the Chief Operating Officer and Pro Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
Staff or students planning to travel to these areas are advised to check the latest travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The website has been updated so that anyone who is in Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories can register their presence and there are also contact details for those who need help. For those based in the UK concerned about a friend or family member, you can call the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on 020 7008 5000.
Students and student groups are reminded of the need to follow the University’s external speaker policy when arranging external speakers.
Colleagues’ attention is drawn to sections 4.2 and 4.6 of the policy when organising speakers.