President of the National Union of Students, 27, sacked after probe into ‘antisemitism’ allegations says she was ‘discriminated against as a black Muslim woman’ as she mulls launching legal action over dismissal
- Shaima Dallali became the first president to be fired in 100-year history of NUS
- It came after she was suspended at the end of August, a month into her term But
- Ms Dallali has rejected the findings of the independent disciplinary panel
- She believes she is victim of ‘discriminatory treatment’ as ‘black Muslim woman’
The President of the National Union of Students, who was sacked following an investigation into allegations of antisemitism, says she was ‘discriminated against as a black Muslim woman’.
Shaima Dallali, 27, became the first president to be fired in the 100-year history of the NUS after ‘significant breaches of policy’ were found.
It came after she was suspended from her role at the end of August, just a month into her two-year term.
But she has rejected the findings of an independent disciplinary panel and is considering taking legal action after her contract was terminated yesterday.
Ms Dallali instead considers the process to have constituted ‘discriminatory treatment of her as a black Muslim woman and her beliefs concerning the plight of the Palestinian people’.
In a statement released on her behalf today, law firm Carter-Ruck said she had already ‘apologised fully for an inappropriate Tweet which she had published in 2012 (that is, a decade before becoming President)’.
Shaima Dallali, 27, became the first president to be fired in the 100-year history of the NUS yesterday
Lawyers added that she had also made clear her position that other tweets which faced criticism and which pre-dated her election to her NUS role ‘were not antisemitic’.
The statement said: ‘Both before and during her tenure as President, Ms Dallali has repeatedly made clear her opposition to all forms of racism, including antisemitism, while continuing to campaign to denounce the plight of the Palestinian people.’
She was elected by delegates at the NUS national conference in March, but soon afterwards faced a backlash when historical tweets emerged making offensive references to the killing of Jews in the 628 Battle of Khaybar.
Ms Dallali apologised for the ‘wrong’ and ‘unacceptable’ post she wrote as a teenager in 2012.
But other deleted tweets allegedly included statements which appeared to be supportive of the Islamist terror organisation Hamas.
In May, it emerged she may have broken an NUS rule by failing to commit to the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of antisemitism before her appointment.
But she has rejected the findings of an independent disciplinary panel and is considering taking legal action after her contract was terminated yesterday
The same month, the Government announced it would completely freeze out the NUS until it addressed concerns about antisemitism.
The organisation was removed from all DfE stakeholder groups and replaced with alternative student representation.
Facing huge public pressure, the NUS then announced that it had appointed Rebecca Tuck KC to conduct an independent investigation into Miss Dallali, as well as allegations of institutional antisemitism.
In an update yesterday, the NUS said it had taken the decision to terminate Ms Dallali’s contract after an independent panel found that ‘significant breaches of NUS policies have taken place’.
The union said the panel’s decision could be subject to an appeal.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism organisation described Ms Dallali’s removal as an ‘an encouraging first step’. while the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) said the case ‘is a symptom of a wider problem’.
On Wednesday Ms Dallali said she was considering “all available legalremedies”.
She said news of her dismissal as president was briefed to and published on at least two national news websites before she had been informed of the decision.
Ms Dallali also insisted she had “fully engaged” with the investigation.
Following the dismissal decision, the NUS said it apologised “for the harm that has been caused”, adding that it hopes “to rebuild the NUS in an inclusive way – fighting for all students as we have done for the past 100 years”.
NUS vice-president of higher education Chloe Field has been made acting chair of the NUS UK board.
She said: “I am proud to fight on behalf of all of our students and therefore I am determined to work together with the Union of Jewish Students to re-establish trust in our organisation and tackle some of the biggest issues facing students right now.”
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