On April 29, the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) passed an anti-Israel motion declaring the only Jewish state of "ongoing ethnic cleansing and apartheid".
UMSU went as far as to justify and promote acts of terrorism by reclassifying the attacks on civilians as "self-defence".
"UMSU supports the self-determination of the Palestine people and their right to engage in self-defence against their occupiers", the UMSU statement reads.
Through their motion, UMSU urged the University to boycott everything Israeli.
However, the University of Melbourne quickly rejected the UMSU motion in a statement:
"The University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) is a self-governing body and operates as a separate entity to the University.
This anti-Semitic motion, narrowly passed in a vote by 16 members of the UMSU Students' Council, is not the position of the University of Melbourne; nor is it one that is endorsed or supported by the University.
The University of Melbourne is deeply committed to the values of inclusion and respect, and all members of our community must feel welcome and safe from discrimination or racism. Any form of anti-Semitism is antithetical to who we are and what we stand for. Tackling it and its damaging effects is a responsibility of all members of our community.
Jewish students and staff are valued members of our University, along with our Jewish alumni and friends. We are proud of our relationships with the Jewish community in Australia and across the world, and our academic partnerships with Israeli universities and scholars.
Similarly, academic freedom and freedom of speech are core values of the University of Melbourne as outlined in our Freedom of Speech Policy, which applies to students, staff and visitors of the University. We expect all members of our community to exercise these rights respectfully."
Last month, the union was forced to rescind their motion amid legal challenges.
But not before I went to visit the union on campus.
I learned three things about the student union while on campus:
- They don't seem to have many members
- Members have no idea what the union is doing in their name
- The student union is abusing their workers by signing them on as contractors to avoid paying worker's taxes and superannuation
None of it's surprising, but it never seems to get enough attention. So it's up to you to share what UMSU is up to.