The National Union of Students has sacked its president Shaima Dallali after an independent investigation into allegations of antisemitism.
Dallali was elected as NUS president in March but was suspended from her role at the end of August and has now been dismissed after she was found to have “significantly breached” the union’s policies.
Since her election, the Department for Education and its quangos have cut ties with the union.
In a statement, the student union said: “Following the independent KC-led investigation into allegations of antisemitism, specifically into the then-president elect under the NUS Code of Conduct, an independent panel has found that significant breaches of NUS’ policies have taken place. As per this finding, we have terminated the president’s contract.”
The union said it will not be sharing any further details on the investigation into Dallali, who can appeal the decision.
“We are sorry for the harm that has been caused and we hope to rebuild the NUS in an inclusive way – fighting for all students as we have done for the past 100 years,” the NUS added.
DfE minister Robert Halfon said: “We welcome the verdict to this initial investigation and look forward to seeing the outcome of the next stage, which will provide more detail on National Union of Students’ plans to address antisemitism within the organisation.”
Dallali’s sacking is the outcome in the first of two investigations in to NUS, the second of which has not yet concluded and will look at the organisation as a whole.
The DfE previously said that it would want to see antisemitism addressed across the organisation as a whole before deciding whether to reengage with them.
Dallali said she is considering “all available legal remedies” following her dismissal, and has hired Carter-Ruck – one of the UK’s best-known law firms – to fight her case.
A statement from the law firm said Dallali rejects the findings of the disciplinary panel, and she considers the process to have “constituted discriminatory treatment of her as a black Muslim woman and her beliefs concerning the plight of the Palestinian people”.
Earlier this year, Lord Mann, the government’s antisemitism adviser, called for action against the NUS in response to “escalating revelations about the continuing poor treatment of Jewish students and the lack of leadership on anti-Jewish racism from the union”.
Jewish students had expressed concerns after it emerged that Dallali had made anti-Semitic posts on social media ten years ago.
Dallali wrote in 2012 on social media: “Khaybar Khaybar O Jews … Muhammad’s army will return #Gaza” – a reference to a massacre of Jews in 628. She later apologised for the post, calling it “unacceptable”.
Chloe Field, the vice president of higher education will now step up as acting chair of the NUS UK board.
She said: “As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, I will continue to hold the government to account and push for greater support for students. As students and apprentices reach breaking point, at NUS we have developed a series of clear recommendations for the government and education institutions to ease the burden on students, and I look forward to championing them during my time at NUS.”