University of Bristol Fires David Miller, Professor Accused of Antisemitic Comments
by Dion J. Pierre
The University of Bristol has fired David Miller, a sociology professor who called for “the end of Zionism” and spread conspiracies about British Jewish students, in a decision Friday that drew cheers from campus Jewish groups who had long raised complaints about his conduct.
The decision, the university said, ends “with immediate effect” its employment of Miller, concluding a months-long investigation of his activity — which began making news in November 2018, when he mocked Jewish students for feeling unsafe on campus, blaming their fears on “propaganda which they have been schooled with.”
Said University of Bristol in a statement, “We have a duty of care to all students and the wider University community, in addition to a need to apply our own codes of conduct consistently and with integrity.”
“Balancing those important considerations, and after careful deliberation, a disciplinary hearing found Professor Miller did not meet the standards of behavior we expect from our staff, and the University has concluded that Professor Miller’s employment should be terminated with immediate effect.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) called Miller’s firing “long overdue.”
“This announcement sends a clear message to any academics who use their positions at respectable institutions in order to spread conspiracy theories and make Jewish students feel unsafe,” said BoD President Marie van der Zyl. “Free speech should not include hate speech.”
The European Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and Bristol Jewish Society (Bristol JSoc), which had criticized the university for not reprimanding Miller sooner, responded to the news in a joint statement, saying, “We warmly welcome the choice of Bristol University to finally take action against Professor Miller.”
“It has been 2 years since UJS, CST (Community Security Trust), and the Jewish community raised their heads and their voices in protest at the harassment, targeting, and vicious diatribe shared by Professor Miller with his students,” the groups said.
“This announcement concludes months and years of tireless campaigns and actions by students to try and get the university and authorities to listen, and we are pleased that action has finally been taken.”
Miller said he would appeal the university’s decision, The Guardian reported, and accused the university of bowing to outside influence.
“It has run a shambolic process that seems to have been vetted by external actors,” Miller said. “Israel’s assets in the UK have been emboldened by the university collaborating with them to shut down teaching about Islamophobia. The University of Bristol is no longer safe for Muslim, Arab or Palestinian students.”