Oxford University professor Bo Rothstein quits post in Donald Trump protest

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A leading political scientist has quit his post at Oxford over claims one of the university’s wealthy donors is a supporter of Donald Trump.

Swedish academic Bo Rothstein, 63, was a professor at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government. 

The school is named after the Ukrainian-born billionaire Leonard Blavatnik, who gave the university £75 million to set it up.

On Monday, Professor Rothstein resigned from his post alleging that Mr Blavatnik had made a substantial donation to the Trump campaign which he believed was “incomprehensible and irresponsible”. Both Mr Blavatnik and Oxford University denied that he donated to the Trump campaign.

Leonard Blavatnik, with Warner artist Jess Glynne (Araya Diaz/Getty Image)

A spokesman for Mr Blavatnik denied Prof Rothstein’s claims and said he had donated £770,000 ($1m) to Mr Trump’s inauguration committee, which he said was a joint congressional committee that “helps to organise public and private events during the week leading up to the inauguration.”

He added that neither Mr Blavatnik nor his companies had made a donation to the Trump campaign.

In his resignation letter, seen by the Guardian, Prof Rothstein, who joined Oxford University as a professor of government and public policy in January 2016, reportedly said: “President Trump stands for a system of governing that is completely contrary to what I have come to define as ‘quality of government’.”

He added: “As I see it, Donald Trump’s policies are also antithetical to the goal of the Blavatnik school of government, which aims to improve the quality of government and public policymaking worldwide, so that citizens can enjoy more secure and more fulfilled lives.”

A spokesman for Oxford University said: “Len Blavatnik did not contribute to Donald Trump’s campaign either before or after the election, although he did make contributions to the campaigns of other Republican candidates.”

Mr Blavatnik was named Britain’s richest man in 2015 and according to this year’s Sunday Times rich list, his £15.9bn fortune puts him second only to the joint wealth of brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja.

He is the owner of Warner Music, an investor in the Broadway hit Hamilton and lives in a £41 million house in Kensington, for which he outbid Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich. 


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