Oxford orders inquiry into don's Israeli snub

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The Independent Online

Oxford University said yesterday that it would conduct an "immediate and thorough investigation" after a professor was accused of rejecting a student on the grounds that he was an Israeli.

In a strongly worded statement, the university said that "under no circumstances" would it countenance such discrimination. Andrew Wilkie a pathology professor, had apologised for his "wholly inappropriate" comments, a spokesman said.

It is alleged that Professor Wilkie told Amit Duvshani, a masters student at Tel Aviv University who applied to work in his laboratory towards a PhD, that he would not be considered because of the Israeli government's policy towards Palestinians.

Professor Wilkie, who is a fellow of Pembroke College, has apologised for any distress caused by his e-mailed response. The university will receive the findings of the inquiry this week.

A statement from the university said: "Our staff may hold strongly felt personal opinions. Freedom of expression is a fundamental tenet of university life, but under no circumstances are we prepared to accept or condone conduct that appears to, or does, discriminate against anyone on grounds of ethnicity or nationality, whether directly or indirectly."

The professor's apology stated: "I was not speaking on behalf of Oxford University or any of its constituent parts. I entirely accept the University of Oxford's equal opportunities and race equality policies."