Aston students avoid boycott decision - for now
Students' union faces BDS proposal
16 April 2016
In March 2016 Jewish students at Aston University reported - on a Friday - that a BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) proposal was to be considered by the students' union council on the following Monday. We confirmed this information on the union's Facebook page. (We later learned that the proposal was to hold a boycott referendum.)
Not having the text of the proposal was an unavoidable impediment, but we nonetheless wrote (on the Sunday) to the trustees of the students' union, explaining why it would be illegal under charity law and under the union's constitution for the council to pass or implement such a resolution, which would almost certainly have been in breach of the union's charitable objects.
We also pointed out that an academic boycott would put the university in breach of Part 5 of the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits discrimination by universities against staff and students (actual or prospective).
A couple of days after the council meeting, the union's chief executive told us that no BDS proposal had been put to or discussed at the council meeting.
We can't be certain that it was our letter which stopped the proposal from going ahead. Nor can we be sure that the same or a similar proposal won't resurface. But we are monitoring the situation, and we are ready to take further action if necessary.