Students from the University of Sussex have launched a campaign to demand the removal of ‘gender critical’ philosophy professor, Kathleen Stock, who has caused controversy over her supposedly anti-trans views. Although Stock has previously denied that she is transphobic, the students argued: “Transphobes like Stock are anti-feminist, anti-queer and anti-intellectual, they are harmful and dangerous to trans people.”
They went on to criticise the university for employing Stock, adding: “The university is actively enabling and encouraging her transphobia by not firing her, which whilst not surprising, has continued for far too long.” Since the campaign was launched, #ShameOnSussexUni has been trending on Twitter. While many social media users penalised the uni for not firing Stock, others are shared messages of support for the professor, criticising the students for campaigning against her.
In response to the situation, Sussex vice-chancellor, Adam Tickell said the activity is being “investigated”, describing it as an “attack” on “Professor Kathleen Stock for exercising her academic freedoms.” He continued: “We cannot and will not tolerate threats to cherished academic freedoms and will take any action necessary to protect the rights of our community.”
Trans activist, Katy Montgomerie, responded to Tickell on Twitter, saying: “She’s signed a declaration calling to ban trans people from public spaces and end their healthcare. That’s not academic freedom, it’s campaigning against people’s human rights.” The students leading the campaign have not publicly addressed Tickell’s statement, but concluded their mission statement saying: “Our demand is simple: fire Kathleen Stock. Until then, you’ll see us around.”