Bristol Uni ‘refused to discuss’ David Miller probe in meeting with UJS and J-soc

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Bristol Uni ‘refused to discuss’ David Miller probe in meeting with UJS and J-soc

Union of Jewish Students said the University 'remained silent on when a decision would be made' more than 130 days after the launch of a formal investigation in March. 

Jack Mendel is the former Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Professor David Miller
Professor David Miller

The Union of Jewish Students has renewed its criticism of Bristol University after officials “refused to discuss the case” involving anti-Israel professor David Miller – or even when a result would come – in a meeting with leaders yesterday. 

Representatives from the Union of Jewish Students and Bristol Jewish Society (J-soc) met the university’s vice-chancellor, more than 130 days after the launch of a formal investigation in March. 

Miller reportedly called for an end to Zionism, and accused the university’s J-Soc of being “pawns” of Israel.  Bristol Jsoc said at the time, its president had received personal abuse as a result of the professor’s comments, and accused the university of a failure in its duty of care to Jewish students. 

In a statement, the Union of Jewish Students said: “This week Bristol JSoc and UJS met with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Hugh Brady, to discuss its failure to provide basic duty of care to its Jewish students in regards to Professor Miller. 

“The University refused to discuss the case and remained silent on when a decision would be made, despite the consistent pressure for a timely result. 

“It has now been 165 days since Professor Miller publicly attacked Jewish students, and still nothing. When does the clock run out?”

Miller’s remarks led to anger across the community with calls for his removal, letters signed by MPs, and petitions signed by high-profile figures.

Hundreds of Miller’s supporters also backed him, accusing critics of attacking academic freedom. 

In March, speaking in the Lords on behalf of the government, Lord Parkinson responded to the row saying Miller has “ expressed some ill-founded and reprehensible views, and the Government wholeheartedly reject them.”

Mark Gardner, chief executive of the Community Security trust, said: “After over two years of this attitude from Bristol University, we can all see where they stand, but CST will continue to support Bristol JSoc and UJS in every way that we can.””

A spokesperson for the University of Bristol said it was a “productive meeting” and that “from the outset, we explained that we would be unable to discuss the investigation”.

They said: “while we appreciate there is a great deal of public interest in this matter, we cannot jeopardise the integrity and rigour of what is a confidential process by discussing it with third parties or the media.

“For the same reasons, we cannot confirm what stage the investigation is at”.

The spokesperson also highlighted its “freedom of speech policy” and its commitment for “the right of staff and students.. to speak openly without fear of censorship or limitation”, as long as it’s within the law.

It also said it opposes bullying and wants to provide a “welcoming environment for Jewish students”.

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