Oxford university accused of ‘total moral failure’ after accepting £12m donations from Mosley family

Professor says university should not hold Max Mosley’s ‘tainted and dirty money’

Zoe Tidman
Sunday 07 November 2021 18:11
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<p>Max Mosley died earlier this year</p>

Max Mosley died earlier this year

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.

Other top institutions have reportedly received money from the family of Sir Oswald Mosley, the founder of the British Union of Fascists, including Imperial College London and University College London.

They have all accepted donations from a trust set up by former Formula One chief Max Mosleywho died earlier this year – to hold his father’s inheritance money, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Professor Lawrence Goldman, emeritus fellow in history at St Peter’s College at Oxford University, criticised his university for accepting the funding, telling the newspaper its “moral compass” was not “working anymore”.

“There has been a total moral failure,” he said.

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”.

In 2018, it emerged Max Mosley had published a racist political campaign leaflet for his father’s far-right Union Movement in the 1960s, which claimed non-white immigrants risked the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis, VD and leprosy.

“What should have happened was that long ago, Max Mosley should have apologised for his actions. He should have fessed up to what he has done and then he should have used that money very productively to assist those who were, as it were, on the receiving end – victims of that fascist violence,” Prof Goldman said.

“Then, also if you wish to, he could have supported colleges in Oxford in the university.”

St Peter’s College and Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) have accepted more than £12 million from the Mosley family since 2017, with £5m going towards a new student accommodation block, according to The Daily Telegraph.

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

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

Lady Margaret Hall said the funding had allowed students 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”.

Additional reporting by PA

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