UK Jewish Group Demands ‘Suspension’ of Bristol Professor Pending Inquiry Over Antisemitic Remarks
The head of a top UK Jewish group has urged the University of Bristol to suspend a sociology professor facing a probe over harassing Jewish students, as the British government joined calls to school administrators for more details on the ongoing investigation.
On Tuesday, Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD), wrote to the University of Bristol demanding that it take action against David Miller, who has been under review since March for a series of incendiary comments about Jewish students.
Jewish groups on campus recently urged the same, after noting that Miller appears slated to teach two courses in the upcoming academic year despite the inquiry.
“Mr. Miller must be suspended from his position while the investigation into his conduct is ongoing,” wrote BOD President Marie van der Zyl. “Failure to do so will cause the UK Jewish community to assume that either the University is not taking the behavior exhibited by [him] seriously, or, perhaps even worse, that this entire investigation is a sham.”
Miller drew outrage on campus after calling for “the end of Zionism” and accusing Jewish students of being “pawns” of Israel, among other remarks. The University of Bristol has confirmed an investigation into Miller’s conduct, but has declined to provide details on its status, citing confidentiality.
“Either inadvertently or deliberately, the University appears to be suggesting it believes that by pretending no problem exists, the anger and disquiet surrounding this issue will disappear,” van der Zyl continued Tuesday. “I feel the need to emphasize that this is not going to happen.”
Van der Zyl urged Bristol President and Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady to meet with her to discuss the British Jewish community’s concerns over the situation.
“It has now been almost half a year since the latest concerns about Mr. Miller’s highly inflammatory behavior were transmitted to the University,” she said. “It’s even more unsettling, however, to note that the University seems set to allow Mr. Miller to resume his teaching for the coming academic year while the investigation into his deeply disturbing conduct is ongoing.”
Also on Tuesday, the UK government wrote to the university asking it to “immediately detail” how it will address its Jewish students’ complaints about Miller, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said that “any inaction now risks the most serious damage to the reputation of your university.”
A group of Miller’s supporters fired back at critics, telling the JC that the Jewish campus groups were “manufacturing hysteria” and “[whitewashing] Zionist colonization of Palestine.”
A Bristol spokesperson has previously told The Algemeiner that the investigation into Miller would be completed “as soon as is reasonably possible,” emphasizing that school policy protected the right of staff and students 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.”