University of Leeds students have voted yes to a referendum to twin with Al-Quds University in Palestine. The results of the referendum were as follows: 1161 people voted in favour of the motion, 851 people voted against the motion and 23 people abstained from voting.
In the run up to the referendum many of those against the motion were questioning the strain the twinning might have on the university. The “against” argument described three “particularly concerning incidents” including one anti-Semitic demonstration on Al-Quds University’s campus .
This demonstration they referred to, which was held in 2013, resulted in the termination of the twinning between Al-Quds at Brandeis University.
The Leeds University Jewish Society also expressed concern, with one Twitter user stating “we as students must continue the fight against anti-semitism and terror. Say no to this referendum”.
Ahead of the voting on the referendum, those in favour of the motion highlighted a number of positive benefits of twinning with Al-Quds University. They stressed how connecting to Al-Quds would bring about benefits such as creating links with a pioneering university on the cusp of brand new nanotechnology research, building international relationships through academic links as well as the exposure to an institution at the forefront of a vast range of research on topics including human rights and medicine.
However, the twinning with Al-Quds University is not restricted to these particular academic areas, with the first of the twinning being with schools such as Law and Arts.