Some of Britain’s most prestigious colleges – including the ancient universities of Cambridge and Oxford – are being accused of what critics say are dubious sources.
The University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and University College, London have prompted a firestorm of criticism for accepting millions of pounds from the charitable trust of the late motor-racing tycoon Max Mosley, whose fortune was largely inherited from his father Oswald Mosley. was found in Leader of the British Federation of Fascists during the 1930s and 1940s.
Oxford was given $8 million from a charitable trust founded by Max Mosley, who died this year, and two of the university’s colleges, St Peter’s and Lady Margaret Hall, are also other $8.5 million sharing beneficiaries.
question of morality
The acceptance of the gifts attracted the displeasure of historian Lawrence Goldman, former Vice-Master of St Peters, who said he was surprised by Mosley’s donation and accused university officials of “enormous hypocrisy”. He contrasts Oxford’s readiness to accept Mosley cash with his push to “liberate the course from colonization”.
“But they go ahead and take money from a fund set up by proven and known fascists. Its moral compass is no longer working. There has been a total moral failure,” he said. In a letter, Goldman warned that taking money from “the most notorious fascist dynasty in the English-speaking world” would be a “disaster” to the college’s reputation.
Oswald Mosley, a descendant of wealthy aristocratic landowners, led the British Federation of Fascists in the 1930s and founded the Union Movement after World War II. His supporters were known as “blackshirts” for their Nazi-style uniforms and violent attacks on Jews in East London. In 1936, he married his second wife, Diana Mitford, at the home of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, with Adolf Hitler attending as the guest of honor.
Max Mosley was involved in his father’s union movement in the post-war years and, according to his critics, never gave up his political activities. Four British Nobel laureates called in Oxford on Tuesday to reconsider the termination of the biophysics professorship named after Max Mosley’s son, Alexander, who graduated from Oxford and died of a drug overdose in 2009. Saying it would insult our science by “linking it to Mosley.” family and inevitably to British fascism.”
The University of Oxford said in a statement that the Mosley charity, like all charities, passed a “robust, independent process taking into account legal, ethical and reputational issues.”
But both Oxford and Cambridge, as well as some other top British universities, are showing signs of growing alarm over whether they are accepting and actively pursuing donations from foreign sources, especially from China.
Unlike Mosley gifts, the acceptance of millions from companies and billionaires affiliated with the country’s communist government is raising both political and national security concerns.
Earlier this year Oxford agreed to rename its prestigious Wyckham Chair of Physics as the Tencent-Wyckham Professorship, in return for a $950,000 donation from Chinese software giant Tencent. Also this year, Cambridge’s Department of Engineering received what was described as a “generous gift” from Tencent to go towards research in quantum computing.
Tencent, the world’s largest video game vendor, was launched with seed money from China’s Ministry of State Security, according to US officials. Tencent has denied the allegations, and also disputed Western allegations that its highly popular WeChat messenger app is a key force in China’s surveillance state, with data from the app being analyzed, tracked and shared with Chinese authorities. Is.
Half of the $15 million to retrofit an old telephone exchange as a low-energy building in Cambridge to house the university’s new Institute for Sustainability Leadership was signed by Lei Zhang, a Chinese billionaire and Shanghai-based renewable energy company. provided by the owner. Zhang is a member of the National People’s Congress of China.
Earlier this year, former UK universities minister Joe Johnson, a brother of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, warned of the “poorly understood” risks of increasingly close cooperation between British universities and China.
Johnson, who led a study on the education and research partnership between Britain’s higher education sector and China, raised security concerns and said cooperation has increased dramatically in areas sensitive to national security and economic competitiveness – such as Automation, Telecommunications and Materials Science.
The study was carried out by King’s College, London and Harvard University, led by Johnson. It concluded: “The UK’s reliance on a neo-authoritarian technology power for the financial health of its universities and research output is now considered a particular point of vulnerability.”