update deskSchools & Higher Education

UK Defense Secretary’s daughter drops course after peers’ anti-Jewish statements

The only Jewish student in the class, Tabytha Shapps said she felt unsafe amid anti-Israel protests that escalated into “antisemitic chants.”

The Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building at the University of Leeds in England. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
The Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building at the University of Leeds in England. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Tabytha Shapps, the daughter and one of three children of Grant Shapps, the United Kingdom’s defense secretary, told The Telegraph that she had chosen to withdraw from a class at the University of Leeds due to bigoted statements made by peers.

She also noted feeling unsafe in a hostile on-campus environment filled with anti-Israel protests and inadequate responses from administrators.

Tabytha studies political science and economics. In one of her courses, she heard classmates “talking about Israeli apartheid and Israel’s agenda as a genocidal state.” As the only Jewish student in the class, she thought, “what about the injustices of the 1,200 Israelis killed on October 7?”

The collegian reported that on-campus protests against the Jewish state “escalated into antisemitic and anti-Zionist chants.” After her mother wrote to the school to express concern and student safety, she received an answer back defending the protesters’ free-speech rights.

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