Bristol University confirms formal investigation into Miller

University says in statement that 'bullying, harassment and discrimination are never acceptable'


Bristol University has confirmed that an investigation into comments made by Professor David Miller relating to Jewish students is underway.

In the same statement the university added that the institution’s “consistently held position is that bullying, harassment and discrimination are never acceptable”.

An update published on the university’s website on Wednesday acknowledged that comments by the sociology professor had caused “deep concern for some members of our community” and that a written question regarding Professor Miller had been raised in Parliament.

Inflammatory remarks by the professor have included what has been described as a personal attack on the president of the Bristol Jewish Society, and claims that “all JSocs” operate “under the auspices of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), an Israel lobby group.”

Professor Miller added that he believed that these Jewish students were “pawns of a racist regime engaged in ethnic cleansing”.

The statement said: “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.”

The Union of Jewish Students and Bristol Jewish Society issued a statement saying confirmation of the investigation came "far too late" and after their students had "endured weeks of harassment and abuse."

The two organisations also said the university had "failed to set out what steps it is taking to protect Jewish students on its campus during the investigation."

They added they did not understand why Professor Miller had not been suspended while the probe took place.

The university also stated its commitment to its freedom of speech policy,  which “underlines the vital importance of the right of staff and students, as members of a free and democratic society, to speak openly without fear of censorship or limitation, provided that this right is exercised responsibly, within the law, and with respect for others who may have differing views.”

But it added: “The university's clear and consistently held position is that bullying, harassment, and discrimination are never acceptable. 

“We remain committed to providing a positive experience for all our students and staff, including by providing a welcoming environment for Jewish students, and to fostering good relations and an inclusive university community.”

Senior Conservative and Labour MPs and peers – including Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg and Shadow Communities Secretary Steve Reed – have openly condemned Professor Miller’s remarks.

More than 100 MPs and Lords across seven political parties also signed a letter calling on the University of Bristol to take action.

Published by The All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism (APPG), the letter was sent to the University of Bristol's Vice-Chancellor, Hugh Brady.


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