On Tuesday 4th of December, the University of Birmingham Students for Justice in Palestine society (SJP) was de-recognised by the Guild of Students.
The reasons given by the Guild of Students for de-recognition were the following:
– Student Development were not formally informed by the society of their EGM (electing a new committee) that took place last week.
– Certain forms were not completed on time by the society.
– The society was on probation due to circumstances occurring two committees ago.
As representatives of the ethnic minority student population, BEMA feels the de-recognition of a society that campaigns for justice for the oppressed population in Palestine (a cause which resonates with many ethnic minority students on campus) is wrong for the following reasons:
- The decision shows disregard for the efforts of the volunteers that were on the most recent committee which organised events such as a talk by the political journalist Ben White, a performance by Raast (Palestinian-music group), a fundraiser for the Women in Hebron cooperative, as well as hosting weekly talks prepared by students.
- The decision ignores the ambitions and enthusiasm of the newly elected committee consisting of 13 ethnic minority Muslims (11 of which are Muslim women), an underrepresented demographic often disengaged from Guild activity.
- The society had just regained it’s momentum after having been crippled by a Student Groups Committee decision the previous academic year to ban committee members from standing again.
- We believe that due to the recent increase in tensions in the Gaza strip, taking away support for the only society on campus that solely focuses on aiding the Palestinian cause is untimely and lacks empathy.
- We do not believe that a student group should be held responsible for actions that happened in previous years and that are beyond their control.
- There are discrepancies in what the society was told was necessary to organise an EGM.
As a result, we believe that de-recognition of the society is a disproportionate and unnecessary punishment for the reasons given by the Guild of Students.
BEMA continues to support student volunteers that wish to aid the oppressed people of Palestine and urge the Guild to overturn the decision as soon as possible, or (failing that) in the first Guild Council meeting of next year.