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August 12, 2021 4:30 pm
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Bristol University Professor Under Antisemitism Probe Still Scheduled to Teach Next Year, Say Jewish Students

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. Photo: StockVault

Jewish student groups have called on the University of Bristol to address two planned courses they said are scheduled to be taught during the coming semester by David Miller, a sociology professor under investigation for accusations of antisemitism.

A review of Miller’s conduct began in March, after university officials learned he had advocated the “end of Zionism” in a lecture and accused Jewish students of waging a campaign of censorship at Israel’s direction.

In a Thursday letter addressed to Professor Esther Dermot, Head of the Bristol School of Policy Studies, the Bristol Jewish Society said it had learned that Miller is currently scheduled to teach two modules in the coming academic year, including “Understanding Terrorism.”

“By allowing Miller to continue teaching, you have publicly and inadvertently made your own judgement on this case. Your inaction legitimizes his views and assumes his innocence in a very serious case of antisemitic conduct,” it said. “This assumption sends the message that academics are free to harass and target Jewish students without any consequences or repercussions for their actions.”

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Also signed by the head of the UK’s Union of Jewish Students, the letter said that one of the courses Miller will teach this fall, “Harms of the Powerful,” contains material the Jewish community had specifically flagged for “containing offensive material.”

A spokesperson for the University of Bristol told The Algemeiner that the letter would be “responded to directly in due course,” and that while it could not comment on the status of the investigation, it recognized the “importance for all parties of completing our internal procedures as soon as is reasonably possible.”

“Our freedom of speech policy 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,” the spokesperson said, reiterating a previous statement. “Alongside this policy, the University’s clear and consistently held position is that bullying, harassment, and discrimination are never acceptable.”

Thursday’s letter continued the UJS’s public campaign for an update on the university’s investigation. In July, the group wrote to Vice Chancellor Hugh Brady, arguing that “silence” is a “failure to provide basic duty of care to its Jewish students.”

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