Oxford faces backlash over accepting multi-million pound Mosley donations

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Oxford University (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)
Oxford University (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

The University of Oxford has come under criticism for accepting multi-million pound donations from the Mosley family.

The university was given £6 million from a charitable trust set up by motor-racing tycoon Max Mosley for the inheritance he received from his father, Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, the Telegraph reported.

The newspaper also revealed two colleges, St Peter’s College and Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) previously accepted more than £6.3 million from the Mosley family trust.

Max Mosley signed off the accounts which confirmed the donations before his death in May, according to the Telegraph.

Max Mosley signed off the donations before his death in May, the Telegraph reports (Anthony Devlin/PA) (PA Archive)
Max Mosley signed off the donations before his death in May, the Telegraph reports (Anthony Devlin/PA) (PA Archive)

Emeritus fellow in history at St Peter’s College Professor Lawrence Goldman accused the college of a “total moral failure” after attempting to persuade it to reject the donation, the Telegraph reported.

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.

“Its moral compass is just not working anymore.

“Max Mosley has been going round terrorising people and has never apologised.

“We shouldn’t be dealing with him.

“This is an open and shut case.”

The source of the funds, The Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust (AMCT), was named after Max Mosley’s son, an alumnus of St Peter’s College who died of a heroin overdose in 2009.

The £6 million received by Oxford University will go towards the creation of the Alexander Mosley Professor of Biophysics Fund.

(PA/ Yui Mok) Lord Mann objected to ‘memorialising the Mosley family name’ (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)
(PA/ Yui Mok) Lord Mann objected to ‘memorialising the Mosley family name’ (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

Meanwhile, a £5 million donation, part of the £6.3 million, will go to St Peter’s College will be used to build a new block of student accommodation.

Initially, the block was to be called Alexander Mosley House but the college has confirmed a name will now be chosen through an internal consultation involving students.

The Telegraph reported the the trust’s 2017 accounts show that St Peter’s accepted £1,102,250 while LMH was given £260,000 to fund its foundation year.

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.

Sir Oswald Mosley led the British Union of Fascists and its successor, the Union Movement (PA) (PA Archive)
Sir Oswald Mosley led the British Union of Fascists and its successor, the Union Movement (PA) (PA Archive)

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

The University of Oxford said the donation, like all donations, passed a “robust, independent process taking legal, ethical and reputational issues into consideration.”

A spokesperson said: “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.”

St Peter’s College said the new accommodation would make a “transformative difference” to students’ lives “for generations to come”.

A spokesperson for the college said: “The gift, like all substantial gifts, was cleared by the University’s independent committee to review donations, ahead of being approved by the Governing Body of St Peter’s College.

“The AMCT has given the naming rights for the new building to the College.

“The name will be chosen through an internal consultation process and the students of the College will be closely involved in that process.”

LMH said the funding had allowed student from “very diverse and low-income backgrounds” to attend and that “the gift was therefore fully in line with, and helped to deliver on, LMH’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism”.

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