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Dismissed NUS president considers legal action after antisemitism allegations

The sacked president of the National Union of Students (NUS) said she is considering legal action over her dismissal after an investigation into allegations of antisemitism.

Shaima Dallali said she rejected the findings of a disciplinary panel and 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”.

Law firm Carter-Ruck on Wednesday evening released a statement on her behalf, saying she had already “apologised fully for an inappropriate Tweet which she had published in 2012 (that is, a decade before becoming President)”.

They 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”.

Her lawyers 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.”

In May, it was announced that Rebecca Tuck KC would lead an independent investigation into allegations of antisemitism within the NUS, as well as an investigation into the then president-elect Ms Dallali under the union’s code of conduct.

In an update on Tuesday – first reported by Jewish News – 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 legal
remedies”.

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.”