Campaign Against Antisemitism is inviting Jewish students who studied at the University of Bristol in the academic year 2020-21 to join a lawsuit against the University over Prof. David Miller’s alleged harassment of Jewish students.
Lawyers working with Campaign Against Antisemitism have begun the pre-action process ahead of commencing litigation against the University.
The prospective lawsuit is being prepared over statements made by Prof. David Miller, who is employed by the University.
Campaign Against Antisemitism is issuing a call for additional students to come forward and add their names to the legal action by e-mailing [email protected].
The case against the University concerns alleged unlawful harassment on the basis of Jewish ethnicity and Judaism, amounting to breaches of the Equality Act 2010, as well as breaches of contract.
Much has been written about Prof. Miller, who has recently added to his record of inflammatory statements about the Jewish community, with the assertion earlier this year that “Zionism is racism” and a declaration that his objective is “to end Zionism as a functioning ideology of the world”. Prof. Miller has also suggested that people associated with Zionism should not be engaged in dialogue but “must only be faced and defeated,” that the “Zionist Movement” is “the enemy” that must be engaged, that it is “the enemy of world peace,” and that those associated with Zionism, including Jewish students on Bristol campus, “must be directly targeted”. Taken together, the implication of Prof. Miller’s remarks is that all decent people who support “world peace” should view Bristol Jewish Society and the Union of Jewish Students, and Jewish people, including those who identify with those bodies, and the vast majority of Jewish students as an “enemy” that must be “directly targeted”. Prof. Miller has said that interfaith work between Jewish and Muslim groups is “a trojan horse for normalising Zionism in the Muslim community”. Perhaps equally egregiously, he also suggested that Jewish students, by virtue of being Zionist, “encourage Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism”.
Prof. Miller’s statements and the University’s failure to condemn them and take swift action against him have been the subject of a great deal of attention from the Jewish community as well as hundreds of academics and Parliament, including a written question by Lord Austin, as well as a recent intervention from Robert Halfon MP.
The legal claim contends that Prof. Miller’s statements sought to create a hostile environment for Jewish students. It further alleges that the University is liable for Prof. Miller’s conduct, and is further liable in its own right, for unlawful conduct in breach of the Equality Act, and for its breach of its contract with students.
We are asking additional students to step forward and add their names to the legal action to hold the University of Bristol to account for Prof. Miller’s conduct, and its own. If you are or were a student at the University of Bristol in the academic year 2020-21, please e-mail your name and telephone number to [email protected].
Pre-action correspondence has been exchanged with the University, which has refused even to set a date for completion of its already extended investigation of Prof. Miller.
A previous complaint against the University, concerning Prof. Miller’s conduct, did not report publicly and it is still unclear, two years later, what the outcome was.
Solicitors from Asserson Law Offices are acting, and have instructed barristers Derek Spitz of One Essex Court and Benjamin Gray of Littleton Chambers.
Asserson Law Offices and Derek Spitz were also instructed in our groundbreaking referral of the Labour Party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Benjamin Gray is an expert in employment and discrimination law who is currently instructed on workplace discrimination claims that Campaign Against Antisemitism is helping individuals to pursue.
The case is the latest step by Campaign Against Antisemitism to defend the rights of individual Jewish students. We believe that universities and students’ unions must be robustly held to account when they fail to defend Jewish students or when they allow their lecturers to discriminate against or harass them.