BREAKING: Bristol Uni fires Professor David Miller after 200-day investigation
Miller: “I will be challenging this decision”
Bristol Uni has terminated Professor David Miller’s employment following 200 days of investigation.
In a statement, Bristol University said they had a “duty of care to all students and the wider University community” and that Miller did “not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff”.
While he is no longer employed by Bristol Uni, David Miller has the right to appeal this decision and has vowed to do this.
Miller has been under investigation since March after comments he made which included calling for “the end” of Zionism, that Zionism is “fundamental” to “encourage Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism” and that the “Zionist Movement” is the “the enemy”.
Bristol Uni said: “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 behaviour we expect from our staff and the University has concluded that Professor Miller’s employment should be terminated with immediate effect.”
“The University regards the principle of academic freedom as fundamental and would like to reiterate that we take any risk to stifle that freedom seriously.
“The investigation included an independent report from a leading Queen’s Counsel who considered the important issue of academic freedom of expression and found that Professor Miller’s comments did not constitute unlawful speech.”
David Miller first caused controversy in 2019 when his lecture about the Five Pillars of Islamophobia included “parts of the Zionist movement”. This made some Jewish students “uncomfortable” and the Community Security Trust launched a complaint to the university.
Following Miller’s comments in February, an internal investigation was opened by the university as well as a further police investigation. In a statement to The Bristol Tab, Avon and Somerset Police confirmed the investigation into “a hate crime or hate incident taking place during lectures at the University of Bristol.”
Flames were fanned when hundreds of academics, including 13 Bristol Uni staff, signed an open letter in support of David Miller.
However, backlash to this resulted in 109 MPs and Peers writing to the University of Bristol calling for action following David Miller’s statements in lectures.
The members from seven different political parties, including independents, wrote that Miller “has been inciting hatred against Jewish students”, telling VC Hugh Brady: “You must now act before any further damage is done”.
Bristol Uni further said: “We recognise that these matters have caused deep concern for people on all sides of the debate, and that members of our community hold very different views from one another.
“Given the degree of public interest in this matter we hope our community will appreciate the care and attention with which the University must approach it.”
Professor Miller said: “The University of Bristol has embarrassed itself and the entire British academic sector by capitulating to a pressure campaign against me overseen and directed by a hostile foreign government. It has run a shambolic process that seems to have been vetted by external actors.
“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.
“I stand by my evidence-based comments and I will be challenging this decision, all the way to an Employment Tribunal if necessary.”