Universities should consider ethical and reputational risks, says minister


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”.

Her comments come after an Oxford don spoke out against his university taking money from the Mosley family.

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.”

Max Mosley (Martin Rickett/PA) / PA Wire

The Telegraph reported the University of Oxford’s St Peter’s College and Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) had accepted more than £12 million from the Mosley family since 2017.

Meanwhile, Imperial College London was handed almost £2.5 million and University College London (UCL) received £500,000, the newspaper reported.

The donations were given by the Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust (AMCT), set up by motor-racing tycoon Max Mosley for the inheritance he received from his father, Sir Oswald Mosley, who was leader of the British Union of Fascists, according to The Telegraph.

Professor Lawrence Goldman, emeritus fellow in history at St Peter’s, accused Oxford of “total moral failure” and on Sunday told Sky News that universities should not accept “tainted and dirty money”.

He said: “I believe these universities should largely be self-governing, but if they can’t govern themselves effectively and according to the moral principles that I think most British people would expect of great universities, then there may be a role for the state.

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