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Mosley trust row: Universities ‘should consider reputational risks’ of donations



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he universities minister has said institutions should “consider ethical and reputational risks” of accepting donations amid controversy over gifts from the Mosley fortune.

Michelle Donelan said universities should also consider the views of “relevant” student and staff groups, but suggested this should not stop institutions working with “legitimate charitable organisations”.

The comments are the latest in a dispute over multi-million pound donations given to universities by The Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust (AMCT), a charitable trust set up by motor racing tycoon Max Mosley for the inheritance he received from his father, Sir Oswald Mosley.

Sir Oswald was the leader of the British Union of Fascists and The Daily Telegraph reported two Oxford colleges, St Peter’s College and Lady Margaret Hall, previously accepted more than £6.3 million from the trust.

Michelle Donelan spoke about donations (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament) / PA Media

Ms Donelan told the Telegraph: “When accepting donations, universities should consider ethical and reputational risks, and the views of any relevant student and staff communities.

“This should not be a barrier to working with legitimate charitable organisations that are able to provide funds to support academic research and a high-quality student experience.”

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

Both Oxford colleges said the donations were subject to a “robust” review process, while Imperial college said all gifts were subject to “thorough due diligence processes”, according to the papers.

Professor Lawrence Goldman, emeritus fellow in history at St Peter’s, said the money was “essentially tainted and dirty”.

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, he 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.”



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