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Oxford accused of ‘total moral failure’ after accepting Mosley donations

The University of Oxford has been accused of a “total moral failure” after it was reported to have accepted millions in donations from the Mosley family fortune.

The funding, totalling more than £6 million, came from a charitable trust set up by the late motor-racing tycoon Max Mosley using money inherited from his father Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists.

The trust is named after Mosley’s son Alexander, who died in 2009 of a suspected drugs overdose.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Oxford is one of a number of institutions to have received money including Imperial College London, King’s College London, and University College London.

Professor Lawrence Goldman, Emeritus Fellow in History at St Peter’s College at Oxford University, criticised his university for accepting the funding, saying that the institution’s “moral compass” was not “working anymore”.

“There has been a total moral failure,” he said. “The university has gone off the scale in wokery, but they go ahead and take money from a fund established by proven and known fascists.”

Speaking on Sky News on Sunday, Prof. Goldman said: “Oxford has lots of money and can continue to get money from other sources, it does all the time, and I don’t really buy the argument that because you can do some good in Oxford, you should just continue to hold on to what is essentially tainted and dirty money.”

He told the programme that Max Mosley never apologised for “terrorising and intimidating” minority groups, and said the position of universities may have been different if he had decided to “atone for those crimes and sins”.

Previous donations totalled more than £6.3m, including £5m to St Peter’s College for a new block of student accommodation and £260,000 to Lady Margaret Hall to fund its foundation year.

St Peter’s College said the new accommodation would make a “transformative difference” to students’ lives “for generations to come”. The block was initially set to be called Alexander Mosley House, but the college has confirmed that a name will be chosen through internal consultation involving students.

Lady Margaret Hall said the donation “enabled a cohort of students from very diverse and low-income backgrounds to attend Oxford” and participate in the college’s foundation year.

The university told The Telegraph: “We can confirm that donations to the department of physics from the Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust, including endowment of a chair in biophysics named after Alexander Mosley, a graduate of the university, were all considered and approved by the university’s committee to review donations and research funding.”

It also said that all donations passed a “robust, independent process taking legal, ethical and reputational issues into consideration”.

Lord Mann, the Government’s anti-Semitism tsar, said: “My objection is to the memorialising of the Mosley family name.

“At a time when Oxford University are putting statues into storage or away from public display, it is quite absurd to give credibility to a family who were active fascists over two generations, and who led British fascism up to the Second World War.

It is hard to comprehend why they would choose to put their reputation so at risk

–Lord Mann, government anti-Semitism tsar 

“It is hard to comprehend why they would choose to put their reputation so at risk.”

The Oxford Jewish Society and the Union of Jewish Students put out a statement condemning the move.

It read: “Oxford JSoc and UJS are distressed by the news that Oxford University and some of its constituent colleges have accepted donations from The Alexander Mosley Trust. The Mosley Family name is synonymous with fascism and antisemitism in Britain. The University’s decision to dedicate a professorship to this name serves to commemorate and revere the Mosley legacy. 

“Furthermore, the absence of any communication and consultation with Oxford’s Jewish students is inconsiderate and inappropriate. We encourage Oxford University, and the benefiting colleges to reflect on the impact these donations will have on its Jewish students and the wider student body.”

We hope that Oxford University and the colleges involved will reconsider their positions

–Oxford Jewish Society and the Union of Jewish Students 


“As an institution that seeks to promote an inclusive environment for all, we hope that Oxford University and the colleges involved will reconsider their positions.”

Max Mosley himself studied at Oxford and served as secretary of the Oxford Union.

In 1961, Max Mosley served as an election agent for the Union Movement (UM), a far-right party founded by his father after the Second World War to promote European nationalism.

In 2018, the Labour Party said it would no longer accept donations from Mr Mosley following an accusation that he published a leaflet in the 1960s linking immigrants with disease.

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