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General advice/information for all students and colleagues on how to talk about Israel and Palestine in an inclusive way and personal legal considerations/individual legal responsibilities

We are a proudly international university with a diverse and inclusive community of colleagues and students from over 140 countries. We welcome free speech and the exchange of ideas across our University and stress that there is no place for any form of hate in our community.

As a university community, we expect everyone to debate their differences peacefully and we wholeheartedly support the free exchange of ideas and liberty to express them within the confines of UK law.

We want to protect our students and colleagues from stepping into unlawful speech or activity and would encourage everyone in our community to be mindful of the following information.

Unlawful speech and proscribed organisations

Whilst we have a duty to uphold free speech, we also have a clear duty to stop unlawful speech. It is important that you are clear on what constitutes unlawful speech: hate speech, inciting violence, inciting terrorism, or inviting support for a proscribed organisation.

Under British law, Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organisation and signalling support, including moral support or expressing an opinion or belief that is supportive, is a criminal offence, as outlined in the Terrorism Act (2000).

Further examples of unlawful speech under current UK law can be found below:

  • Threat to kill
  • Provocation or threat of violence
  • Speech intended or likely to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, race or Religion
  • Encouraging (or assisting) another illegal act
  • Inciting terrorism
  • Inviting support for a ‘proscribed organisation’
  • Intentional harassment, alarm or distress
  • Defamation
  • Malicious communications

How to talk about Israel and Palestine in an inclusive way

Consider carefully how and where you talk about the situation. Be mindful of your level of understanding, connection or expertise on the subject and familiarise yourself with what constitutes unlawful speech. And take particular care when commenting on public social media, where in the absence of nuance or context, comments often don’t help and can create more division, hurt, and hate.

Specific points to remember:

  • Blaming or targeting Jewish or Israeli people for the actions of the Israeli Government is not appropriate nor is blaming Palestinian people for the actions of Hamas. Don’t assume that Palestinians or Israelis support the actions of their leaders.
  • Be sensitive towards people who are pro-Israel and/or pro-Palestine. Solidarity with one side or the other is not a crime, a person can be pro-Israel/pro-Palestine and still be pro-resolution.

Reporting incidents of abuse

How to report

We urge anyone who has witnessed or experienced any form of abuse to use the Exeter Speaks Out tool to report incidents.

Our campus security teams are mobile, response-based services covering all aspects of security, safety and welfare for staff and students on our campuses. They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Estate Patrol on our Exeter campuses

  • Routine: 01392 723999
  • Emergency: 01392 722222

The Safety and Support Team on our Penryn campus

  • 24-hour contact number 01326 254444

Remember: if you are in an emergency, call 999 and ask for the appropriate service

You can also contact security directly through the SafeZone app. The app is available to all Exeter students and colleagues and makes it easier for you to contact Security directly from your phone.

You can report hate crime to the Police here.

In addition to the support outlined above, UBUNTU is a counselling service that offers multicultural counselling, support and education. They aim to provide a holistic and evidence-based, multicultural counselling service for all communities across Devon and further afield.

Wellbeing support

This will be a stressful and worrying time for many in our community and outlined below is information on the support that is available to our students and colleagues, which we would encourage you to access, should you need to.

Wellbeing support for students

If you need support, or someone to talk to, please do get in touch with Wellbeing Services in Exeter and Cornwall for support and guidance; they are here to help.

The Students’ Guild in Exeter and Students’ Union in Cornwall are also here to support members of our student community who are affected. They are reaching out to societies and communities to see how they can best support them at this time and encourage any students to contact them if they are in need or have suggestions for how best to assist them.

Wellbeing support for colleagues

If you are directly or indirectly affected by these events, you can contact our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) counselling service, Spectrum Life, through a new support line (0800 6525008), which has been set up to provide dedicated support to colleagues at this difficult time. Information about this service can be found via this webpage.

General information about Spectrum Life, as well as information about other internal and external support, can also be found on our Colleague Wellbeing and Occupational Health webpages.