Sussex university professor Kathleen Stock resigns after transgender rights row

Philosopher says she suffered ‘absolutely horrible time’ as students called her for removal

Rory Sullivan
Friday 29 October 2021 00:33
<p>Professor Kathleen Stock has resigned from her position at the University of Sussex. </p>

Professor Kathleen Stock has resigned from her position at the University of Sussex.

A philosophy professor who became embroiled in a row over transgender rights has stepped down from her role at the University of Sussex.

Kathleen Stock, who has an OBE for her contribution to higher education, had faced calls to be sacked over her stance on gender identity.

The controversy centres on her view that a person’s self-declared gender does not trump their biological sex, “particularly when it comes to law and policy”.

Prof Stock believes that female-only spaces such as changing rooms should not be open to self-identifying trans women.

As a result, the academic was accused of transphobia, with an anonymous group, allegedly led by students, campaigning for her to be fired.

Posters to this effect were reportedly put up near the university campus, while an image of a protester holding a banner reading “Stock Out” appeared online.

Announcing her decision to leave the university, Prof Stock explained how the last few years had been “very difficult” and “an absolutely horrible time” for her and her family.

“I’m putting it behind me now. On to brighter things soon, I hope,” she said.

Professor Adam Tickell, the vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex, said in a statement that the institution was sorry to see her go. “Her departure is a loss to us all,” he wrote.

He added that harassment and bullying had no place at the university. “Rigorous academic challenge is welcome. However, we have seen an intolerance of her as a member of our community because of her work,” Prof Tickell said.

“This is now, and will always be, in direct opposition to even the most basic principles of academia.”

He also said that “no substantive allegations of wrongdoing” had been made against Prof Stock.

A university spokesperson later expressed the institution’s “gratitude for her significant contributions as a teacher and academic”.

Prof Stock has previously said her views are “at odds” with many of her colleagues.

Earlier in October, the local branch of the University and College Union (UCU) said Sussex University should give “unequivocal support” to all trans and non-binary members.

At the start of the year, more than 600 academics signed a letter protesting against the decision to award Prof Stock an OBE.

Additional reporting by PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in