Australasian Union of Jewish Students

Jewish students harassed at La Trobe University

Jewish students harassed at La Trobe University

The Australasian Union of Jewish Students has voiced concern at the weak response from La Trobe University to the ongoing harassment and vilification of students on campus.

Following the overwhelming failure of a hateful anti-Israel motion proposed by the Socialist Alternative at the La Trobe Student Union (LTSU) last week, Jewish students, and their supporters, have come under attack.

By Aujs / August 07, 2014

Posters have been placed around campus claiming Labor and Jewish students who opposed the motion support "genocide," including the full name and a photo of three students.

Furthermore, there has been substantial ongoing verbal abuse.

A Jewish student has been persistently called a "genocidal pig", "a Zionist piece of shit" and told to "f*ck off" by Socialist Alternative members including Ryan Higginson, Naomi Farmer, Elliot Downes.

There have also been various hateful, untrue, and defamatory claims made through social media.

"All students should be able to safely and comfortably undertake their studies without fear of constant abuse directed towards themselves and their friends," said AUJS Political Affairs Director Matthew Lesh.

Despite requests by University security to take down the Socialist Alternative and Students for Palestine material, the posters continued to be placed around campus this week and the harassment of students has continued.

During an anti-Israel rally at the La Trobe campus on Wednesday students were instructed to approach the Jewish student to undertake verbal abuse.

"We have been disappointed by the response from La Trobe, who have chosen a slow bureaucratic investigative process over dealing with the immediate abuse," Mr Lesh said.

This Jewish student who faced the barrage of attacks is unable to attend class for the rest of this week due to ongoing abuse, and AUJS at La Trobe are currently incapable of undertaking social or culture events on campus due to these fears.

"There has been a planned, methodological series of attacks against a single Jewish student," Mr Lesh said. 

Following strong AUJS advocacy, La Trobe University sent an email to all students warning against unacceptable behavior, however Mr Lesh said this does not go far enough.

"The issue calls for drastic and immediate steps from the University. We are calling for the immediate suspension of all abusive students implicated, and a serious investigation of the issues," Mr Lesh said.

"There is simply no time to waste when your students are being harassed in complete contradiction to the law and your own policies.

"There is simply no time to waste when the activity remains ongoing and has stopped students from being able to attend class.

CONTACT: Matthew Lesh / 0401 075 673 / matthew@aujs.com.au

Showing 3 reactions

commented 2014-08-18 21:22:34 +1000
Appalling that the Uni is not being more effective. Is anyone organizing a petition, is there anyone I can write to?
commented 2014-08-07 17:31:43 +1000
Under anti bullying laws and discrimination laws, LA Trobe and the students in question should be finding themselves at the bad end of criminal charges and a lawsuit
published this page in News 2014-08-07 14:43:44 +1000