Bristol University launches formal investigation into Professor David Miller

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Bristol University launches formal investigation into Professor David Miller

Jewish students say it was launched 'far too late' as uni recognised the matter 'caused deep concern'

Professor David Miller
Professor David Miller

Bristol University has launched an investigation into a professor who called Jewish students “pawns of a racist regime engaged in ethnic cleansing”.

The institution has come in for severe criticism from communal organisations for not taking action against the academic. After the announcement, Jewish students said the probe was launched “far too late”.

This comes after the government was urged to look into the matter after it was raised in Parliament, while hundreds of MPs joined Jewish leaders in writing to the vice chancellor.

Professor David Miller caused uproar after he accused Jewish students of running a “campaign of censorship” on behalf of the Israeli government, branding communal institutions as working for the ‘Israel lobby’, and being “pawns of a racist regime engaged in ethnic cleansing”.

In a statement issued yesterday, Bristol University said: “We are aware of concerns about comments made by David Miller.. and that a written question has also been raised in Parliament regarding Professor Miller’s comments, and the principles of freedom of speech at the University of Bristol.”

We recognise that this matter has caused deep concern for some members of our community, and also that people hold very different views on the issues raised. The University has offered support to both students and staff who have been affected by it.”

We can confirm that the University has already initiated an investigation into this matter.  The investigation is being carried out in accordance with the University’s internal process and, as we have explained in a previous statement, that process is confidential.  In particular, it is not appropriate for the University to make any comment on this matter while the investigation we have referred to is underway.”

It said Bristol Uni has a commitment to freedom of speech, and that it wants to provide a “welcoming environment for Jewish students.”

The university did not confirm if Miller will remain in his role while the investigation is conducted.

In a joint statement, the Union of Jewish Students and Bristol Jewish society welcomed the announcement, but said it us taking place “far too late, after Jewish students have endured weeks of harassment and abuse, during which time the University has failed to protect Jewish students, who have been singled out and targeted.”

It also accused Bristol university of not setting out “what actual steps it is taking to protect Jewish students on its campus during the investigation. For example, as far as we know, Professor Miller has not been suspended and we still do not understand why.”

We hope the University will take appropriate and speedy action. We will continue to push the University to ensure the safety of its Jewish students.”

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “Bristol’s Jewish students have already had to endure far too much from David Miller, whose antisemitic conspiracy theories aimed at Jewish students have repeatedly brought the University into disrepute.”

We understand the University’s need to properly investigate the matter in a timely manner and hope that appropriate course of action will be taken. The community keenly awaits the outcome.”

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