A recent incident involving unacceptable behaviour has come to light that The Students’ Union is investigating. The incident involved an individual attending a student group event, which appears to be a white t-shirt social, where anti-Semitic language was written on a top. This behaviour is wholly unacceptable and completely against our core values. Discriminatory behaviour towards marginalised groups within our community is a breach of the regulations and we have launched an investigation into this incident through our disciplinary process.
All those associated with the Students’ Union are required to respect the diverse lived experiences in our community and wider society. It is not acceptable to act in an offensive, inflammatory or discriminatory way and we continue to develop extensive training, support and guidance available to clubs, societies and associations on our values and expected behaviour.
The entire Executive Team would like to sincerely apologise for the incident and take accountability for this student's behaviour. We will ensure we tackle any anti-Semitism and make it wholly clear that it is not welcome in the Union.
Following this, the Students’ Union has contacted all student groups to inform them that all ‘white t-shirt socials’ (e.g. any event where students decorate each other’s plain clothes with writing and drawing) are no longer permitted activities. These events have a long-standing track record of promoting hate speech in a variety of different, equally unacceptable forms. Leicester alone has seen two instances of this since the start of term, where students have written explicitly anti-Semitic statements on clothing.
This isn’t a problem isolated to Leicester and is unfortunately prevalent across a number of different institutions. These social events tend to foster and encourage behaviours which are not deemed acceptable by Leicester Students’ Union and the University of Leicester as they fail safeguarding responsibilities to students. This is why we have taken this action, similar to the action taken by a number of other Unions.
Therefore, in order to safeguard all members of the University community ‘white t-shirt socials’ as defined above are prohibited from taking place with immediate effect. Any student group that is identified as organising a ‘white t-shirt social’ will face Students’ Union investigation and appropriate action will be taken.
We are aware that banning white t-shirt socials alone won’t solve hate speech; it is important we continue to improve the training provided through the Union to tackle negative cultures and create an inclusive environment where all students feel safe and comfortable. We will continue to work through Union Council, campaigns and discussions with student leaders to make sure we make Leicester a safe, inclusive environment for us all.
Any student with any concerns about hate speech on campus or in the city should report them to https://reportandsupport.le.ac.uk/ or email SU-Complaints@leicester.ac.uk. All complaints received by the Union will be investigated under the Union’s Conduct Matrix and/or the University’s Disciplinary Process, depending on what routes the reporting student wants to take.
If you have any queries about what the ‘white t-shirt’ social ban might mean for your student group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will ensure you are fully supported.
If you have any queries about why we made this decision and would like to discuss these concerns in person, please email email@example.com
You can view our Union Conduct Matrix here