Students at the University of Oxford have demanded that feminist academic Kathleen Stock be ‘no-platformed’ from its debating society after she was accused of transphobia.
The former philosophy lecturer was hounded from the University of Sussex in October 2021 after being targeted by activists who disagreed with her views on gender identity.
Oxford’s LGBTQ+ Society made the demand after Dr Stock was invited to speak at the union next month.
Student activists said they were ‘dismayed and appalled’ by the decision to invite Dr Stock, accusing the union of allowing Dr Stock to ‘stoke fear against trans people’ and claiming the body was ‘disregarding the welfare of its LGBTQ+ members under the guise of free speech’.
Dr Stock last night hit back at the LGBTQ+ Society, calling its statement ‘utterly ridiculous’ and ‘probably defamatory’. The Oxford Feminist Union said it was ‘delighted’ to hear that Dr Stock will speak at the Union, adding that this showed the committee was ‘enabling free speech’.
Former philosophy lecturer Kathleen Stock resigned from Sussex University in October 2021
Protests against Dr Stock at Sussex University before she decided to quit two years ago
The LGBTQ+ Society said Dr Stock’s response had resulted in receiving more than 1,000 ‘hateful, threatening, homophobic and transphobic messages’.
Dr Stock believes that a person’s self-identification should not automatically outweigh their biological sex, especially relating to law and policy. Her appearance at the Oxford Union on May 30 – the day before Pride Month begins – has caused controversy after it was announced in the society’s ‘term card’, which described her as a ‘gender critical feminist philosopher’.
The card also pointed out that she is a graduate of Oxford herself, having attended Exeter College.
It said: ‘Kathleen Stock is a philosopher, writer and formerly a professor at the University of Sussex, until she resigned in October 2021 following attacks on her by colleagues as well as a student campaign.
‘She has spoken against proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act, which would allow gender self-identification without a medical diagnosis. In her book, Material Girls, she defends the notion that biological sex is real and not a continuum.’
Her planned appearance then sparked fury from the Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society.
Dr Stock has responded to a statement by the Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society (below)
The group’s statement continued: ‘Stock has been campaigning against trans rights, labelling them as dangerous to women, calling for the exclusion of trans people from the LGBTQ+ movement, supporting conversion therapy, and supporting hate groups such as the LGB Alliance and Lesbian Project.
‘Once again, the Union is disregarding the welfare of its LGBTQ+ members under the guise of free speech.
‘Letting Stock bring her campaign of hate and misinformation to Oxford, allowing her to stoke fear against trans people without challenge or opposition right before pride month and at a time when the trans community is facing a constant attack on its lives and rights – is a move we vehemently oppose and will actively protest.
‘We call on the Union to rescind its misguided invite, and on all Oxford students to stand in solidarity with the trans community and express their dissent with these views. As always, if you need support or someone to talk to, our welfare secretaries are available.’
After the statement was published on Twitter, Dr Stock then posted a screenshot of it and said: ‘Hi @OULGBTQ this statement contains several falsehoods and though I’m not a lawyer, I think it is probably defamatory. Also, it makes you look utterly ridiculous.’
Protestors gathered in Library Square at Sussex University to rally against Dr Stock in 2021
The phrase ‘Stock Out’ was seen written on walls around the campus at Sussex University
Dr Stock has also found support from the Oxford Feminist Union which said: ‘We are delighted to hear that @Docstockk will be speaking at @OxfordUnion this term! Thank you to the Committee team for organising this, enabling free speech, and #EncouragingDebate.’
MailOnline contacted the Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society today to ask for further comment, and it responded by saying: ‘We stand by the opinions expressed in our statement.
‘Stock has a history of insulting trans people, campaigning against their rights, and defending the abusive practice of conversion therapy, and it’s an insult for the Oxford Union to give her the special treatment of a platform to preach and legitimize this intolerance.
‘Furthermore, Stock’s response has resulted in us receiving over a thousand hateful, threatening, homophobic and transphobic messages, making clear that the movement she represents is driven by hate.’
An Oxford University spokesman told MailOnline that the event was being held by the Oxford Union which is an independent debating society and is not part of the university.
He added: ‘Oxford’s Freedom of Speech policy makes clear that the University seeks to prepare students to encounter and confront difficult views, including views that they find unsettling, extreme or even offensive.
Dr Stock’s Oxford Union appearance on May 30 was announced in the society’s ‘term card’
‘The University does not support the no-platforming of any lawful speech at University events or on University premises, although we also recognise the right of students and societies to protest and challenge speakers at internal or external events, as long as they do so within the law and our policies.’
Most of the Oxford Union’s members are current or former Oxford students, but it is not part of the university and has its own funding sources and its own premises.
It is also understood that the university has no control over Union events – and it is the Union’s responsibility to ensure they go ahead.
Dr Stock resigned from Sussex University in October 2021 after facing calls to be sacked amid accusations of transphobia.
The Sussex vice-chancellor had previously said the institution would not tolerate threats to ‘academic freedoms’ following the campaign to remove her. But Dr Stock then said she would be leaving the university after ‘an absolutely horrible time’ and ‘a very difficult few years’.
Most of the Oxford Union’s members are current or former Oxford students (file picture)
It came after an anonymous group, reportedly set up by students, launched a campaign to get Dr Stock sacked over her views on gender identification.
Posters calling for Dr Stock to be fired were put up near the campus, and campaigners were seen holding banners saying: ‘Stock Out’.
Before her departure, Dr Stock had accused a union branch of ‘effectively’ ending her career after it called on her employer to take a ‘strong stance’ against transphobia.
In January 2019, hundreds of academics criticised the decision to make Dr Stock an OBE for services to higher education in the New Year Honours.
In an open letter, the philosophers condemned academics who use their status to ‘further gender oppression’ and said they denounced ‘transphobia in all its forms’.
Last month, Dr Stock co-founded The Lesbian Project, a newly launched group which is said to be dedicated to the understanding and enhancement of lesbian lives in Britain.
MailOnline has contacted Dr Stock via this group for comment today. The Oxford Union has also been contacted for comment.
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12007113/Students-Oxford-demand-feminist-academic-Kathleen-Stock-no-platformed.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490&rand=1270