Campus in the spotlight: how Sussex became focus of row over trans rights

Asia's Tech News Daily

Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian

On a sunny autumn morning on the campus of Sussex University this week, there was little evidence of the turbulence that has engulfed the institution, its students and staff in recent days.

The leaves were turning, young people sat chatting on the lawns and benches, while sports teams assembled for practice and food stalls in front of the library served a steady trickle of customers.

For the past week, however, the campus at Falmer, on the outskirts of Brighton, has found itself at the centre of the fraught debate between trans rights campaigners and gender critical feminists.

This latest eruption of a long-running dispute began when a post appeared on social media calling on the university to sack Kathleen Stock, a philosophy professor at Sussex, who has been targeted by some trans activists for her views on sex and gender.

It featured an image of a masked campaigner on top of a University of Sussex sign, holding a banner saying “Stock Out” next to a blue flare. Elsewhere posters were put up declaring “Academic freedom doesn’t include transphobia,” and “Students have the right to protest Stock. It’s our safety on the line”.

By the time the Guardian visited on Wednesday morning, the posters had gone, scrubbed off before they could be widely seen, but they had already triggered a social media feeding frenzy far beyond the rolling hills of the South Downs, with statements, counter-statements and hundreds of column inches.

Prominent voices, including the universities minister Michelle Donelan and Sussex vice-chancellor Adam Tickell have spoken up in defence of Stock, stressing the importance of academic freedom and everyone’s right to be free of intimidation or harassment, while Labour too has become embroiled.

The local branch of the University and College Union, which represents staff, called for an investigation into institutional transphobia at Sussex, prompting Stock to accuse the UCU of “effectively ending” her career at Sussex.

On campus, some students said they did not want to talk, reluctant to enter the fray, those who did wanted to remain anonymous, but virtually everyone the Guardian approached was aware of the row .

Only one young woman, walking through the students’ union, asked: “Who’s Kathleen Stock?”

Of those who were willing to talk, all were supportive of the trans community at Sussex and were concerned about trans students feeling unsafe. Some admitted they did not know enough about the arguments involved.

“I’d seen people from home posting about it on Instagram,” one first year philosophy student said.

“At first I didn’t know it was our university. I feel like everyone’s a bit angry, but I think it’s a group of people rather than the whole campus. It’s not as intense as you think it would be. I keep saying to myself I’m going to learn more about it. I don’t really know that much.”

Others were concerned that trans students will have chosen to come to Sussex because of its radical history and its location in Brighton, often described as the LGBTQ capital of the UK, only to arrive and feel unsafe.

“I just feel everyone has a right to feel safe whoever they are,” one said.

Stock, who denies being transphobic, researches philosophical questions about sex, gender, and sexual orientation, and has said she believes gender identity is not more important than biological sex, “particularly when it comes to law and policy”, and that people cannot change their biological sex.

“People are annoyed because Stock’s being paid to research about that here, when it makes other people feel uncomfortable,” said a first-year student. “I know some people want her out,” said another. “I would rather the university explain why she should be here a lot better. I’m never going to be as angry as someone who is transgender. But there are obviously people who are going to be majorly affected.”

Stock told the Sunday Times she has been advised by police to install CCTV at her home and to stay away from Sussex’s campus.

“I know they are trying to protect her,” said another student. “But surely they should be trying to protect students. For her it’s her line of work, it’s her career. She gets paid to be here. We are paying to be here. To pay nine grand a year, people deserve to feel safe and accepted.”

This view was echoed by others. “A university’s first priority should be the safety and wellbeing of their students,” said a second-year student. “They’re the ones paying £9,250.”

David Ruebain, pro-vice-chancellor for culture, equalities and inclusion at the University of Sussex, warned the issue could not be treated as a ‘zero-sum game’. Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian

Some felt the protest had been misrepresented. “The media have blown it out of proportion, like there’s mobs of students running around the university,” said the same second year student. “There were just posters around campus and a very peaceful protest. There was no violence of any kind.”

Amelia Jones, trans and non-binary students’ officer, said an investigation into institutional transphobia at Sussex would be a good step forward and called on the university to engage in a dialogue with trans students, adding: “Vice-chancellor Adam Tickell has still not met to my knowledge a single trans or non-binary student to see how the ongoing situation is affecting them.”

Other views, meanwhile, were shared at a debate on Thursday organised by Liberate the Debate, a student free speech society at Sussex and addressed by Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas thinktank, who later told Stock on Twitter, “you have some passionate allies among @SussexUni student body”.

Hundreds of other academics have also come out in support of Stock. They say the attacks on her are a “pernicious erosion of academic freedom.”

Stock also won support from a group of trans people who wrote a letter to the Times earlier this week. They said they were “appalled that trans rights – our rights – are being used to excuse an unprincipled campaign of harassment and abuse.”

Two postgraduates enjoying their lunch in the sun pointed to a generational divide in the debate. “You can’t expect everyone to agree with radical feminist views, because it’s so outdated,” one said.

For the university management, it’s a nightmare. They came back this term hoping to get back to some sort of normality after the disruption of Covid only to find themselves at the centre of one of the most contentious debates of the day.

David Ruebain, pro-vice-chancellor for culture, equalities and inclusion at Sussex, is just two weeks into his new role and is the person charged with helping the university negotiate a path through this thorny issue.

Making his first comment, Ruebain warned it could not be treated as a zero-sum game. “The university has a responsibility to support the fundamental principle of academic freedom, continue to progress our work on equality, diversity and inclusion, and act firmly and promptly in response to bullying and harassment of anyone in our community, whether they be staff or students.

“Any contested issue of equality and inclusion can never be resolved by treating it as a ‘zero-sum game’; this is especially so for a values-led organisation and we have to find ways of coming together no matter how hard it gets, or how public the issue.”

It’s an issue that is not going away anytime soon, at Sussex or elsewhere. A demonstration of trans solidarity is planned on campus for Saturday with organisers advising protesters to conceal their identity and “bring signs, make noise, look after each other.”

The Twitter response begins: “Is this ok with you, @SussexUni @sussexucu⁩?”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


The week that was: Latent View logs 250% return in a week, Paytm makes a recovery

NEW DELHI: It was a scary week for Dalal Street, where concerns over inflation, Fed policy and a new virus variant shaved 4 per cent off benchmark indices, with select ... Read more »

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Verizon Wireless Deals 2021: Top Apple Watch, Galaxy, Pixel & More Savings Collated by Saver Trends

Compare the top Verizon Wireless deals for Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2021, featuring all the latest deals on the iPhone 13, Galaxy S21, iPad Pro & more BOSTON, November ... Read more »

Jo Malone Black Friday 2021: How to get a free gift set in the sale

Get some scentsational bargains from the British brand (iStock/The Independent) Black Friday 2021 is finally here right around the corner. There are sure to be deals aplenty when the big ... Read more »

Best Cricut Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals 2021: Top Cricut Maker, Explore 3, Joy & EasyPress Savings Rounded Up by Consumer Articles

The best Black Friday & Cyber Monday Cricut deals for 2021, including all the best Cricut Maker 3 and Explore Air 2 sales BOSTON, November 27, 2021–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Find the best ... Read more »

The Beauty of the UAE: Coast

© Chris Whiteoak Chris Whiteoak / The National Dozens of kite surfers make the most of favourable conditions at Jumeirah Beach, Dubai. © Provided by The National Chris Whiteoak / ... Read more »

All About The New UAE Law on Relationships Out of Wedlock

© UAEMoments All About The New UAE Law on Relationships Out of Wedlock His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has approved a wide-ranging reform ... Read more »

Dubai: 26 lucky winners share latest Dh1 million Mahzooz draw prize

© Provided by Khaleej Times Twenty-six lucky participants will share the latest Dh1 million second prize in the 53rd weekly live Mahzooz Grand Draw, which took place on Saturday. The ... Read more »

Tourism sector shifts focus as COVID travel bans hit South Africa

©|&mediapopup=65114… © blasbike/ CAPE TOWN – Promoting COVID-safe travel is even more vital for the tourism sector, given the mass shutdown of borders with South Africa. That’s the message ... Read more »

COVID-19 in SA | Call to raise Omicron awareness

© Provided by eNCA JOHANNESBURG – People need to be made aware of the new COVID-19 variant and the importance of vaccination. The NICD’s Adrian Puren says raising awareness is ... Read more »

Tripura Civic Poll Results 2021: BJP wins 29 wards in Agartala in prestige battle against TMC, Left | 10 Points

© Provided by Jagran English Agartala | Jagran Politics Desk: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under the leadership of Chief Minister Biplab Deb has taken a massive lead on all seats ... Read more »

Blake Lively shares her tips for making festive holiday drinks

© Provided by Lifestyle Asia If you’re hosting a holiday party this season, you’ve likely put a lot of thought into what you’ll be serving and that typically includes a ... Read more »

Manish Tewari Hits Back at Adhir Ranjan, Shares Screenshots of Tweets Criticizing Centre over China

© Provided by News18 Manish Tewari Hits Back at Adhir Ranjan, Shares Screenshots of Tweets Criticizing Centre over China Congress leader Manish Tewari on Sunday reshared screenshots of his previous ... Read more »

Rangnick rejects talk of Man Utd signings, with duo's exit his big January priority

© PA Images Ralf Rangnick, Man Utd interim manager, pictured in September 2018 managing RB Leipzig Incoming Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick will focus first on player exits instead ... Read more »

#UPSCExtraAttempt trend on Twitter as civil service aspirants demand another chance; here's why

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran Education Desk: Soon after the three farm laws were repealed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 19, many Union Public Service ... Read more »

Twitter may launch ''Reactions'' feature soon; here's what it will offer

© Provided by Zee News New Delhi: After unveiling several features this year, micro-blogging site Twitter is reportedly readying new features, including Reactions, Downvotes and Sorted Replies for iOS users. ... Read more »

How to use emoji as your Apple ID picture

How to use emoji as your Apple ID picture Using Memoji as your Apple ID profile image is fun and gives you an option to prevent your real face from ... Read more »

Jagran Explainer: 10 steps to take immediately and 5 things to avoid as world races against time to control Omicron

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Omicron variant of COVID-19, identified as B.1.1.529, has sparked concerns across the world with countries rushing to reimpose ... Read more »

'Out of my control' - Lee Bowyer makes Birmingham City transfer admission

Lee Bowyer spoke with the media after Birmingham City’s 1-0 victory over Blackpool. The game was settled by a late goal from Lukas Jutkiewicz, set up by debutant Jordan James. ... Read more »

'Mane's moves and Firmino work rate', 'Man if we get him' - Many LFC fans lap up transfer claim

A number of Liverpool supporters have urged the Reds to sign Leeds United star Raphinha after it was revealed that they wanted him in the summer. © Provided by Transfer ... Read more »

Incredible pictures show the London Underground tunnels where the Windrush arrivals lived

In 1948, an advert appeared in a Jamaican newspaper announcing that there were 300 places aboard the Empire Windrush for anyone who wanted to travel to Britain. All 300 places ... Read more »

'I'm a Kate Middleton lookalike and I travel the world with doubles of Prince William, the Queen and even Harry Potter'

Heidi Agan was working as a waitress in 2011, around the time of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding, when the same thing started happening. Handing out drinks at ... Read more »

Life under the Heathrow flightpath from being woken up at 4.30am to being able hearing the birds sing in lockdown

Flights have started to pick up and a return to pre-pandemic levels is in sight. In some cases, there are many who are anxious. The reason for this anxiousness is ... Read more »

Brentford vs Everton live stream: How can I watch Premier League game on TV in UK today?

© Getty Images ThomasFrank2711A Brentford host Everton on Sunday afternoon looking to record their first win since beating West Ham United in early October. While Thomas Frank managed to stop ... Read more »

Bruno Lage will be without key Wolves pair for Burnley clash

Wolverhampton Wanderers will be without Daniel Podence and Ruben Neves when they welcome Burnley to Molineux on Wednesday night. Wolves had to settle for a draw, a goalless one at ... Read more »

Ben Fordham recalls the 'meltdown' he once had with Rebecca Maddern that left him storming off in 'a huff' - after her shock departure from Nine

Ben Fordham has paid tribute to former his Ninja Warrior co-star Rebecca Maddern after she sensationally quit Nine.  The radio king took to Instagram to share a story about how ... Read more »

Manchester United told Ralf Rangnick won't emulate Thomas Tuchel despite copying Chelsea trick

Lokomotiv Moscow’s head of sports and development Ralf Rangnick is understood to have reached an agreement that will see him take interim charge of Manchester United. The Athletic claim that ... Read more »

'Phew', 'Yesss' - Many MCFC fans celebrate definitive update on future of star eyed by Barcelona

Raheem Sterling won’t be leaving Manchester City to join FC Barcelona in January, according to Marca. © Provided by Transfer Tavern Raheem Sterling in England training City are said to ... Read more »

Video: Lisa Wilkinson is 'front and centre' in Channel 10's latest promo for its 2022 slate after the network's highest-paid star was noticeably absent from earlier sizzle reel

Read more »

How Aston Villa dressing room reacted to Crystal Palace victory as Steven Gerrard shows ruthless streak

Aston Villa followed up their first win under new head coach Steven Gerrard against Brighton last week, with a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon. Former Rangers boss ... Read more »

Real Madrid injury news: Alaba's knee sprain nothing to worry about

Real Madrid CF completed a comfortable “revenge” victory over Sheriff Tiraspol on Wednesday and booked their spot in the Round-of-16 in the UEFA Champions League. However, there were some worrying ... Read more »

Fosun could solve Lage's big issue at Wolves with January move for 6 ft 3 “leader” - opinion

© Provided by Football FanCast botman Despite having an average squad age of 26.4, three of Wolves’ five oldest senior players are defenders. One of those is 30-year-old centre-back Willy ... Read more »

Manchester United could use a new formation vs Chelsea

Recalls? Bruno Fernandes was jolted by his demotion against Villarreal and played with equanimity when he came on. His introduction was key to United’s strong finish in Spain and ended ... Read more »

Read the proposed new words for Advance Australia Fair as push to change the national anthem gains rapid momentum: 'We must recognise First Peoples'

Recognition in Anthem project wants to change lyrics to Advance Australia Fair The non-profit is supported by indigenous Olympic great Cathy FreemanOne word change made from January 1 with the second line now 'one and free'  Read more »

Erneut starker Capela kann Atlantas Niederlage nicht verhindern

© KEYSTONE/EPA/ERIK S. LESSER Nach sieben Siegen am Stück müssen die Atlanta Hawks das Parkett in der NBA wieder einmal als Verlierer verlassen. Trotz einem starken Clint Capela verlieren sie ... Read more »

Pius Suter trifft und siegt

© KEYSTONE/AP/Duane Burleson Pius Suter erzielt beim 3:2-Sieg der Detroit Red Wings zuhause gegen die Buffalo Sabres sein fünftes Saisontor in der NHL. Einen Abend zum Vergessen erleben Roman Josi ... Read more »

New Zealand politician cycles to hospital in labor, gives birth

New Zealand politician Julie Anne Genter rides a bicycle to the hospital while in labor in Wellington, New Zealand on Nov. 28, 2021. REUTERS MELBOURNE – New Zealand Member of ... Read more »

I'm a mum-of-eight & I have to use foodbanks to feed my kids… no one will give me a job they think I'm a scrounger

A MUM-of-eight has told how she is forced to use food banks to feed her kids after her benefits were cut. Marie Buchan, 39,  from Selly Oak, West Midlands, says ... Read more »

Schoolchildren as young as TWELVE could get Covid booster jab as UK launches fight against ‘horrific' Omicron variant

HEALTH chiefs are considering whether to give school kids as young as TWELVE another jab as fears about the Omicron variant grow. With two cases of the super strain confirmed ... Read more »

Harrison Spinks mattress Black Friday deals 2021: Save over 30% on the opal 7250 model

Rest easy with this great offer (iStock/The Independent) The Black Friday weekend is in full swing, with discounts on everything from iPhones and tech to beauty products, perfumes and more. ... Read more »

Best air fryer deals for Black Friday 2021: Ninja 9-in1 air fryer and Philips offers

Air fryers may very well be the modern day cult. If you’re friends with the owner of one, you’ll no doubt have heard them endlessly praise the virtues of their ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic