A ROW has broken out over Huddersfield University’s choice of speaker on Travellers and Gypsies.
Hughie Smith, president of The Gypsy Council, said the university has caused a “great deal of unrest” in the Romany community, including Huddersfield’s large population of settled gypsies, after it invited Jake Bowers to be a guest speaker.
Bowers, who edits Travellers Times Online, contributes to The Guardian and presents a BBC radio programme for the travelling community.
He is due to lecture students in the School of Human and Health Sciences on ‘Britishness, Roma, Gypsies and Travellers’ as part of their studies on citizenship on October 22.
But the invitation has angered The Gypsy Council, a group formed in 1973, who say they are the only authentic gypsy organisation in the UK and do not acknowledge Mr Bowers as one of their own.
Mr Smith said extensive research among the gypsy and traveller community nationwide had failed to produce any evidence that Mr Bowers had any Romany heritage and that he was purely a member of the relatively unknown National Romany Rights Association.
A spokeswoman for The University of Huddersfield said they were aware of Mr Smith’s concerns but said the lecture would still go ahead.