In an invitation to a restricted group of students, Professor Charlie Jeffery, Vice Principal for Public Policy and Impact in the School of Social and Political Science, said that he “see[s] the University as a platform for open and critical debate about contested issues in UK and international politics.”
But when a graduate student not from one of the chosen courses asked to be allowed to join the event, he was told repeatedly in emails released exclusively to The Electronic Intifada that “we have over a period of months worked with internal and external stakeholders to agree a complex set of arrangements for this event. With regret I am unable to make exceptions to those arrangements.”
The student declined to be named publicly, fearing possible reprisals.
Another email from Professor Jeffery to the same student said: “I’m truly sorry that it will not be possible for you to attend. As you will appreciate such visits are sensitive and involve a number of considerations, including security. We have agreed a particular format and audience with the Embassy and are unable to change plans at this stage.”
No clear reasons were given for the student’s exclusion from the event, although Professor Jeffery denied that students from the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) had been specifically banned. Those invited share a program of study with the excluded student, who is from IMES, but are registered with a different department.
A previous visit by Daniel Taub to the University of Edinburgh was seriously disrupted by protests by members of Students for Justice in Palestine, despite an enormous police presence.
Edinburgh Students for Justice in Palestine, along with the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Edinburgh University Student Association’s Black and Minority Ethnic Campaign, has called for protests against the latest event.