Revealed: Bristol Uni student's three-year ordeal after David Miller complaint

Bristol University has been forced to apologise and pay compensation to Nina Freedman for their handling of her complaint about David Miller


A former Bristol University student has revealed the three-year-long ordeal she suffered after she put in a complaint about allegedly antisemitic comments made by Professor David Miller.

Speaking exclusively to the JC, Nina Freedman has for the first time told of the catalogue of trauma and online abuse she had to endure in silence while bound by the university’s confidentiality rules until now.

In an emotive interview, the former president of Bristol’s Jewish Society recalled how she was left in tears by the torrent of hate. At one point she was warned to look for bombs under her car.

While she fought for officials to take action after repeated delays, strict rules stopped her speaking about her distress to anyone else. Ms Freedman had put in the complaint as a 19-year-old first year undergraduate in 2019. Miller – then a member of university staff – had spoken publicly about the “Israel lobby” and dismissed claims of antisemitism in Labour as “mostly false”.

He was sacked by Bristol in October 2021. It was only in June this year that Ms Freedman’s ordeal was brought to an end. The university was forced to apologise to her for their handling of the complaint, a fact which has been made public in the past few days.

Last night, politicians and leading antisemitism campaigners voiced their horror over the failings by officials and called for action to ensure no other student should suffer a similar ordeal.

Lord John Mann, the government’s advisor on antisemitism, told the JC: “Bristol University’s complaints procedure wasn’t fit for purpose. What was there was not properly applied, and there was a clear lack of leadership at the top of the university.

“What we need to see is if the new leadership is moving rapidly to rectify this and help repair the damage done to the reputation of the university worldwide. It’s time for some leadership at Bristol.”

Tory MP Robert Halfon, chair of the Education Select Committee, said: “This shocking story is yet another distressing example of how this university appears to not be a safe place for Jews. It is very sad for me to say this, but I could understand why those of the Jewish faith may not want to go to this university given the way they have behaved during this awful saga.

“The Vice-Chancellor and University Executive Board need to give a fulsome apology to Jewish students and to set out how they will ensure that never again in the 21st century do Jewish people feel this university is not a safe place for Jewish people to be.”

He added of Ms Freedman: “I pay tribute to this wonderful student and I have no doubt that she will have a flourishing and successful life.”

Dave Rich, director of policy at the Community Security Trust, which supported Ms Freedman throughout her ordeal, said: “Bristol University’s mishandling of the complaints are a model of how not to deal with an allegation of antisemitism. At every stage there were delays, obstructions, terrible communication and an apparent unwillingness to address the issue properly. Nina and her fellow students showed admirable courage and persistence to ensure Bristol University would not be let off the hook.”

A Union of Jewish Students (UJS) spokesperson said: “This decision sends a clear message to universities across the country that they must respect and protect Jewish students.”

READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL: 'The way Bristol Uni handled my David Miller complaint ruined my uni life'

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