Fury as Bristol’s Professor Miller returns to work despite pending investigation

EXCLUSIVE: Academic who described JSoc members as  ‘pawns of a racist regime’ has been quietly reinstated


Controversial sociology professor David Miller appears to have returned to work despite a pending investigation into his inflammatory remarks about Jewish student groups.

Just weeks after he went on what was reported as ‘sick leave’, the JC has seen an email telling his students that “David Miller is back at work and will be your main point of contact as personal tutor”.

Inflammatory remarks by the professor have included claims that “all JSocs” operate “under the auspices of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), an Israel lobby group”, and his belief that these students were “pawns of a racist regime engaged in ethnic cleansing”.

Speaking at an online campaign event in February, Professor Miller said: “It’s a question of how we defeat the ideology of Zionism in practice. How do we make sure Zionism is ended essentially. There’s no other way of saying that.”

The Union of Jewish Students and Bristol JSoc said that the academic’s return to the campus was one which they greeted with “contempt and outrage”.

Charging Professor Miller with creating an “environment of hate”, the students pressed for his “immediate” suspension, pending the completion of the university’s investigation.

They added: “Hate has been allowed to fester at Bristol and Vice Chancellor Hugh Brady is ignoring the pleas of his Jewish students in not taking action to suspend Miller. It is high time that the university acted to prevent further harassment of its Jewish students, and avoid another mark against the university’s record”.

The University of Bristol refused to confirm his reinstatement on campus.

A Bristol University press officer referred the JC to a statement made by the university on March 16, in which it said it was “aware of concerns about comments made by David Miller, professor of political sociology and member of our School for Policy Studies, 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”.

The statement said that while it recognised that the matter had caused “deep concern for some members of our community”, it also believed that “people hold very different views on the issues raised”.

It also announced that an investigation had begun — though it did not say who was conducting the investigation or how long it would take. The press officer said that for unspecified “legal reasons” the university could not comment on anyone’s terms of employment.

In an Education Select Committee meeting earlier this week, chairman Robert Halfon MP made a stirring plea to the Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, to go further in protecting Jewish students.

He said of the situation at Bristol: “There’s been some awful things going on in terms of Jewish students. They feel unsafe, they feel unprotected, they feel that now the university is a hotbed of antisemitism, and yet all the government can do is say, ‘We’ll wait for a review and not intervene.’

Mr Halfon urged the minister to meet the Bristol vice-chancellor and ask him: “What on earth is going on here? Why do thousands of Jewish students feel that Bristol University is not a safe place for Jews? Do something. Protect these students, which is your duty to protect them.”


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