Friday, December 3

Professor says race “effectively ended” due to union claims of transphobia | Higher education

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy professor who is targeted by activists for her views on gender identification, has said she fears her career at the University of Sussex has been “effectively ended” by a union call for an investigation. about transphobia.

The Sussex chapter of the University and University Union (UCU) has urged the university leadership to “take a clear and firm stance against transphobia in Sussex” and to undertake research on “institutional transphobia”.

The UCU statement, which did not mention Stock, came just five days after a protest against Stock on the campus near Brighton, which included anonymous posters accusing Stock of transphobia and calling for her to be fired.

“In light of recent events on campus and the ensuing public response on social media, we extend our solidarity to all trans and non-binary members of our community who, now more than ever, must receive the unequivocal support of the university. and its management, ”the statement said.

Stock posted the union’s statement on social media, saying that the UCU branch “has actually just finished my degree at the University of Sussex,” implying that I would not be able to continue working at the university.

However, the university said it would not agree with the union’s call for an investigation.

A spokesperson for the University of Sussex said: “We have acted, and will continue to act, firmly and swiftly to address bullying and harassment, uphold the fundamental principle of academic freedom, support our community and continue to advance our work on the matter. of equality and diversity. and inclusion. We care deeply about achieving this balance.

“There is a very strong range of views and opinions across the university on a wide variety of issues and topics, including how we support our trans and non-binary community, especially at this time.

“As a community, we must come together and talk about what is happening right now and look at the way forward.

“We will do this in the coming weeks and it will be led by our recently appointed vice chancellor for culture, equality and inclusion.”

Stock has said that she believes that gender identity is not more important than biological sex, “particularly when it comes to laws and policies,” and that people cannot change their biological sex.

Stock said police had advised her to install CCTV at her home and stay away from the Sussex campus: “I don’t know if this will get me out of the academy. I don’t want to go ”, she told the Sunday Times.

Following last week’s protest, Sussex Deputy Chancellor Adam Tickell gave his public support for Stock, saying: “We cannot and will not tolerate threats to precious academic freedoms and will take the necessary steps to protect the rights of our community. “.

But the Sussex UCU statement, signed by the branch executive, said that university leaders had failed to “uphold the stated values ​​of the institution by ensuring that the dignity and respect of trans and non-binary students and staff , and their allies, are enshrined in the nucleus of the university culture ”.

He added: “We do not endorse the call for any worker to be summarily fired and we oppose all forms of harassment, harassment and intimidation of staff and students.”

A spokesperson for the UCU national organization said: “UCU supports the statement by the UCU Sussex branch which makes clear its opposition to harassment and intimidation of staff and students. The statement is also clear that UCU is not asking that any staff member be removed from their position.

“UCU is a proud and unequivocal supporter of trans rights and echoes calls from the UCU Sussex branch for the university to match its strong stance on academic freedom with an equally strong stance on trans inclusion.

“UCU condemns the personal threats now received by members of the UCU Sussex branch executive, which include the identification and publication of contact details.

“These issues are being raised immediately with the leadership of the university.”

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