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Jewish student claims victory against University of Leeds

The school agreed to pay the sociology graduate an undisclosed sum after graders failed her essay for being insufficiently anti-Israel.

Parkinson Building, University of Leeds, West Yorkshire. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Parkinson Building, University of Leeds, West Yorkshire. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The University of Leeds settled a legal claim brought by sociology graduate Danielle Greyman after her coursework was wrongly failed because it did not blame Israel for the crimes of Hamas against Palestinians.

The university agreed to pay Greyman an undisclosed sum.

Greyman was assisted by UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) Charitable Trust in her appeal and legal claim, in which she was represented by Jonathan D.C. Turner, barrister, and Daniel Berke, solicitor, both directors of UK Lawyers for Israel.

“We are very pleased with the settlement and hope that it will serve as a warning to universities and academics not to allow marking to be influenced by the anti-Israel bias which is so prevalent in academia. Ms. Greyman is to be congratulated for standing up to this dogma,” Turner said in a statement put out by UKLFI.

Greyman chose “State crime and immorality” as an optional module in the final year of her three-year B.A. course in sociology in the 2020/2021 academic year.

With her tutors’ agreement, Greyman decided to write about the crimes committed against Palestinians by Hamas, and the U.N.’s contribution to these crimes.

Her examiners failed her for not discussing supposed crimes committed by Israel and because the essay was too short (even though it met the specified requirement of 5,000 words +/- 10%).

“The feedback on the essay by the markers also indicated hostility and prejudice against Israel, as did their social media,” the UKLFI statement said.

Greyman had never failed an assignment before and was on track to receive a class 2.1 Honours Degree.

Her coursework had earlier been revised to a passing grade following Greyman’s successful internal appeal, and she has been awarded a B.A. degree with Honours in Class 2.1.

However, the appeal process and regrading took more than a year, and the university’s confirmation of Greyman’s entitlement to the degree came too late to enable her to take up a place in a master’s degree course at the University of Glasgow.

“I am grateful for the support that UKLFI and the wider Jewish community has provided, and I hope this encourages other students to take action against institutions that do not uphold their responsibility of ensuring academic freedom and fair marking,” Greyman said in the statement.

“That said, I am disappointed by the waste of resources that went into dealing with the issue. If the University of Leeds had simply apologized at the outset, corrected the marking and offered antisemitism training to staff, I would have felt greatly satisfied.

“Instead, they failed to confirm that I was entitled to the degree until it was too late, and made me wait six months before hearing my appeal, and then a further six months for the re-marking. This has been a long and emotionally draining process, but it is necessary that large institutions know that they will be held accountable for their wrongdoings,” Greyman said.

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