Academics warn universities should stop pandering to students who must be told to ‘accept academic freedoms or LEAVE’ after professor was ‘hounded out’ of her role in trans row
Students should be told that universities are not there to protect their feelings, academics claimed today after a professor resigned over her views on gender.
Professor Kathleen Stock, 48, an expert in gender and sexual orientation, quit her job at the University of Sussex this week after a ‘bullying and harassment’ campaign labelled her a ‘transphobe’.
And appalled colleagues are up in arms, demanding that students are told in freshers’ week that universities are there to hold up academic freedom.
Professor Michael Biggs, an expert in sociology at Oxford University, said the blame for the ‘ludicrous’ culture at education institutions lies with the universities themselves, not ‘young and immature’ students.
Students should be told that universities are not there to protect their feelings, academics claimed today. Pictured: Professor Kathleen Stock, 48, an expert in gender and sexual orientation, quit this week after a ‘bullying and harassment’ campaign labelled her a ‘transphobe’
Professor Stock received death threats as a result of her ‘transphobia’ — an accusation she denies
In her own words: What does Kathleen Stock believe about gender and trans issues?
Kathleen Stock explained her views on trans issues in written evidence to Parliament in November 2020 here:
- Womanhood and manhood reflect biological sex, not gender or gender identity;
- The claim ‘transwomen are women’ is a fiction, not literally true;
- Sexual orientation (being gay, being lesbian) is determined by same-sex attraction, not attraction to gender identity;
- Spaces where women undress and sleep should remain genuinely single-sex, in order to protect them;
- Children with gender identity disorders should not be given puberty blockers as minors.
He told The Daily Telegraph: ‘Instead of endlessly pandering to the students, universities need to make it very, very clear in the inductions, in Freshers’ Week, that the institution exists to uphold academic freedom. And if they are unhappy about that, they need to leave.’
Professor Stock received death threats as a result of her ‘transphobia’ — an accusation she denies.
The philosophy professor was at the centre of a blazing row — and a student-led protest — at the university after saying she believes gender identity does not outweigh biological sex ‘when it comes to law and policy’.
She also said that people cannot change their biological sex, sparking anger from protesters.
Professor Stock quit her job on Thursday, saying it had been ‘a difficult few years’ and that she hoped other universities could learn from what had happened.
Professor Alice Sullivan, a sociologist at University College London, said: ‘I think what happened at Sussex is absolutely disastrous. It’s a complete failure of management.
‘The fact that Kathleen has been hounded out of her job is a scalp for the bullies and will embolden them to try and do the same thing again.’
Posters put up in the tunnel from Falmer station to the university’s campus earlier this month said she ‘makes trans students unsafe’ and ‘we’re not paying £9,250 a year for transphobia’.
Banners saying ‘Stock Out’ had also been held alongside burning flares and scores of people were criticising her online under the Twitter hashtag #ShameOnSussexUni.
Professor Stock said on social media that she was ‘sad to announce’ she is leaving.
She said: ‘This has been a very difficult few years, but the leadership’s approach more recently has been admirable and decent.
‘I hope that other institutions in similar situations can learn from this.
‘Am particularly glad to see University emphasising that bullying and harassment anyone for their legally held beliefs is unacceptable in their workplace.’
She added: ‘This has been an absolutely horrible time for me and my family. I’m putting it behind me now. On to brighter things soon, I hope.’
Professor Stock has previously said she is ‘at odds’ with a large section of academics because she believes gender identity is not more important than facts about biological sex, ‘particularly when it comes to law and policy’.