A Cardiff University department has warned its students over alleged anti-Semitic behaviour. The warning comes as Jewish students report feeling “unsafe” on campus and in Cardiff city centre.

The alleged anti-Semitic incident, in the maths department, took place during class interactive polls, the department said in a message seen by WalesOnline and shared on X. A university spokesman said the matter was “subject to an ongoing investigation” and there was “no place for anti-Semitism or hate of any faith” on campus or anywhere else.

The message says the maths department was made aware of "overt anti-Semitism" and was working to identify "the individuals involved". It adds that there had been several instances of students posting inappropriate, or disrespectful, comments during class interactive polls.

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A second message from another Cardiff University department to its students, also seen by WalesOnline and shared on X, reports “concerning behaviour” but did not relate to anti-Semitism specifically, the university said. That message, from the School of Architecture, “reminds” students of the department’s commitment to “promoting a culture in which differences are welcomed and harassment and bullying are known to be unacceptable”. For the latest Cardiff news sign up to our newsletter here

One Jewish student, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals, said he and other Jewish students have stopped wearing their Star of David and fear showing their faith after incidents in and around the university since the October 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas and the ensuing attacks by Israel on Gaza. The student, who has Israeli and British citizenship, said posters of Israeli hostages were ripped down after being put up on a wall opposite the Student Union building.

He said he and other Jewish students had felt harassed and intimidated at the Student Union AGM when a motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza was proposed despite them not saying anything. He said a non-Jewish student had been prevented from speaking against the motion and was “harassed” afterwards.

“The university say they are committed to protecting all students but they are not actually doing anything to show that,” said the student. “We want the university to show students there are consequences for anti-Semitism. It makes me feel like we are back to 100 years ago and Jews having to hide who they were. I don’t feel safe giving my name or wearing my Star of David. There are not many Jewish students at Cardiff University and I don’t feel we are supported. I feel lonely and isolated at a traumatic time.”

A general view pf Cardiff University's maths department in Senghennydd Road
Cardiff University's maths department is in Senghennydd Road

The second message from the university’s architecture department reports “concerning behaviour”. That message “reminds” students of the department’s commitment to “promoting a culture in which differences are welcomed and harassment and bullying are known to be unacceptable” but did not relate to anti-Semitism specifically, the university said.

The full text of the message sent to students by the maths department:

Dear maths students,

We have been made aware of a serious incident of unacceptable behaviour that has taken place. There have been several instances of student (sic) posting inappropriate, or disrespectful, comments during class interactive polls and this needs to stop.

One of these incidents was more severe, consisting of overt anti-Semitism. We want to make clear that any anti-Semitic behaviour (or any other prejudiced behaviour) will not be tolerated by the school.

If such incidents occur again strong action will be taken, in accordance with the university’s Student Conduct Procedure. We are working to identify the individuals responsible and this will be dealt with in accordance with the university’s dignity at work policy.

Responding to allegations of anti-Semitism and the message from the maths department a Cardiff University spokesman said: “We are very sorry to hear that any student feels unsafe on our campus. There is no place for anti-Semitism or hate of any faith at Cardiff University.

“Our university must be a safe space which is why we adopt a zero-tolerance attitude to harassment and discrimination of all kinds. We can assure students that we have robust procedures in place to investigate allegations of anti-Semitism and where it is found appropriate action will be taken.

“We recognise that the on going events are extremely challenging for many in our community – including our Jewish students. That’s why we have proactively reached out and continue to meet with our Jewish Society – and others – to hear their concerns first-hand.

“We have also reminded all students who witness or are the victim of such incidents to report them via our disclosure response team. These reporting routes are open to all members of our community whether they are the victim of, or witness to, any incident.

“Every single member of our community deserves dignity and respect. The diversity of viewpoints, experiences, and backgrounds in our community makes us stronger. That’s why it is right, at the same time, that our commitment to freedom of speech and protest, within the law, remains central.”

A spokesman for Cardiff University Students' Union, which is a separate entity to the university, said: “The Students’ Union will not tolerate any form of discrimination and is committed to supporting Jewish students to feel safe on campus. We have not received any complaints that were able to be actioned within our remit. Where students raise matters that are not within our control we prioritise support measures and signpost them to relevant external bodies whether that be the university or the police. We have and will continue to work with the Jewish Society to ensure that their voices are heard and that they feel supported.”

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