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8th May 2018

Shock over anti-semitic comments in UoM Physics group chat

The Jewish Society are particularly concerned that the students who attempted to call out anti-Semitism faced ridicule
Shock over anti-semitic comments in UoM Physics group chat
Texting is a poor substitute for face-to-face interaction. Photo: Jhaymesisviphotography @ Flickr

Students at the University of Manchester are deeply outraged at anti-semitic messages found in an academic Facebook group chat.

Screen shots of a first year University of Manchester student sending deeply anti-semitic messages to a year-wide Physics group chat have been obtained by The Mancunion. The comments were sent to a group of over 200 fellow first year students, and appeared to suggest that “6 million Jews ain’t enough”.screenshot1

The comments appeared to stem from a question posted by another user, asking “Would you rather: Become an engineer [or] Become a Neo-Nazi”. Another student responded “Pfft why you asking that? Tis an easy question. Now brb while I make some lebensraum”, referring to the Nazi policy of developing ‘living space’ for Germans in the 1920s

Another student replied “I would rather die tbh”, to which he was told “Don’t be a jew”.

The most shocking comments followed this conversation, with one student writing “6 million is not enough”. The same student then continued, writing “6 million Jews ain’t enough”. The number six million refers to the number of Jews believed to have died during the Holocaust.

A challenge was made by another student who asked “Could you stop with the Nazism maybe now?”. She as told to “Calm the fuck down”, followed by the comment “literal triggering”.screenshot3

A fellow first year Physics student took screenshots of the conversation and reported the conversation to the university. They received a reply from their head of year stating that the comments were “clearly unacceptable, and completely against the values of the School” and asking for more information so the situation could be dealt with.

Fellow students called the incident “shocking” and “awful”. It comes after Exeter University was forced to investigate a racist WhatsApp conversation in a law society chat last month. Two men were arrested.

screenshot4Manchester University’s Jewish Society issued a statement condemning the criticism of the student who attempted to halt the conversation, writing: “The Jewish Society is deeply concerned by this incidence of overt and shameless anti-Semitism in a public forum.

“At a time when attacks against Jewish students are on a nationwide uptick, it is shocking that students who have attempted to call out anti-Semitism have faced ridicule. It is blatantly unacceptable for fellow students to tell someone to ‘calm the f**k down’ after being told ‘6 million Jews ain’t enough’.

“We expect a robust and transparent investigation into this incident from the relevant faculty, who we call on to denounce this incident in the strongest possible terms. It is incumbent of all members of the student body to tackle anti-Semitism wherever it arises”.

A university spokesperson told The Mancunion: “The University is a welcoming environment and we will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment. Allegations of this nature are thoroughly investigated and if appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken.”

Nicole Wootton-Cane

Nicole Wootton-Cane

Deputy Editor of The Mancunion

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