The deputy dean at Queens said the motion 'did not clearly breach' the Disciplinary Code related to harassmentCharmaine Au-Yeung

Queens’ College has chosen not to discipline students who proposed a Student Union motion calling for a “mass uprising” in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel, following a two-month investigation.

The findings of the investigation prompted calls from the Cambridge University Jewish Society (CUJS) and Union of Jewish Students for the college to discipline the students, with a formal complaint being lodged within the college.

The original motion, proposed in October, had called for “a mass uprising on both sides of the Green Line and across the Middle East”, which was likened to “the first Intifada” by its proposer.

The motion was heavily amended by SU President Fergus Kirman before it was presented at the SU’s Student Council, who called upon the meeting’s attendees to “consider how it would make students with relatives in Israel feel”.

Jewish students present at the Student Council meeting told Varsity that they were “afraid to be a Jewish person in Cambridge,” while CUJS labelled the motion a “disgrace”.

In a letter addressing the investigation, deputy dean of Queens’ College, Dr Janet Maguire, stated there was “no breach” of the rules and no “violent, indecent, disorderly, threatening, abusive, or offensive behaviour”.

“As the motion put to the Cambridge Student Union was political in nature, I am advised this did not clearly breach [another] section of the Disciplinary Code related to harassment”, the deputy dean added.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) condemned Queens’ College for not taking action against students who expressed support or sympathy for Hamas.

A spokesperson for CAA said there are no excuses for the “unspeakably brutal attacks by Hamas on 7th October”. CAA said that “robust debate” must not “stray into incitement”.


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They continued: “University administrations and students’ unions have a responsibility to safeguard Jewish students and staff from rhetoric that potentially breaches the law and creates a hostile environment at their places of study or work…no exception”.

The proposer of the motion told Varsity in October that they had “sought legal advice” and had been informed that “using the word ‘Intifada’ is not incitement to violence”.

The student, a member of the Cambridge Marxist Society, said the October 7th Hamas attacks were “the exact opposite of what we stand for as communists”.

Varsity found in October that the SU President had contacted the government’s chief antisemitism advisor about the motion, but Kirman has said nothing further on the matter.

A spokesperson for the college said: “The decision was reached following an independent investigation and the College sought advice from a King’s Counsel as part of the process. We are unable to provide any further comments on matters related to individual students.”