St Peter’s College issues statement on Mosley funding
Poppy Atkinson Gibson
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Following on from a recent donation by the Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust, and the criticism it drew from Oxford Jewish Society, St Peter’s College has released a clarifying statement on their position in order to “counter [to] some of the misleading accounts that are in circulation.”
The controversy arose as a result of Alexander Mosley’s family, members of which were well known members of the British Union of Fascists. Up until the age of 22, Alexander’s father, Max Mosley, was involved, in well-publicised ways, alongside his father with the Union Movement.
In an email circulated to the JCR and MCR, the Master and Fellows of St Peter’s College clarified the identity of Alexander Mosley, describing him as a “shy, bright and engaging” student who “is remembered with warmth by tutors and students.”.
It goes on to state “There was nothing politically controversial about him. He carried considerable burdens in his short life, some of them related to his own last name.” before clarifying that the Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust (AMCT) donates to a range of causes, including educational, scholarly and social justice projects across Oxford, in the UK and internationally. And added that “Like all charities, the AMCT is regulated by the Charity Commission. It is not a family trust.” Moreover, St Peter’s stressed that all donations were thoroughly vetted though an independent process as part of the wider university and that each review came back cleared before being accepted by the Governing Body.
They also added:
“The University of Oxford’s Committee to Review Donations and Research Funding (CRDRF) is externally chaired and contains other external representation. The committee does not clear all donations. Like other colleges and departments of the University, St Peter’s College trusts the processes and accepts the findings of the central committee’s work.”
St Peter’s accepted donations from the charity between 2013 and 2019, totalling £6.4m. The most recent donation served to contribute to new student accommodation being built on the Castle Hill House site adjacent to the college.
The statement went on to add that this donation would enable the college to offer essential support, specifically, enabling “a greater proportion of students to live in College rather than being dependent on the very expensive private rental market in Oxford.”, the message emphasised their commitment to alleviating the burden of those from “the most economically challenged backgrounds.”. And also stated that throughout the process students had been closely consulted including discussions JCR and MCR committee members, an open Q&A session to which students were invited, and meetings for students potentially affected since. Throughout the process St Peter’s stated that they had remained in contact with rabbis and Jewish colleagues who had provided useful and constructive conversations
The message reiterated St Peter’s disgust at discrimination commenting that:
‘The Trust abhors racism in all its forms including the thuggery and violence of Oswald Mosley’s fascist movement. None of the funds received or distributed by the trust were the proceeds of fascism.’ And they also suggested that ” no individual should be judged on the beliefs or actions of previous generations. Alexander was our student and we relate to, and remember, each of our students as individuals. The significant burdens of association that Alexander carried in life should not continue to sully him unfairly in death”