by Joan Smith
Thursday, 28
October 2021
Reaction
17:30

Kathleen Stock deserved better

The professor has now left Sussex University — how did it come to this?
by Joan Smith

There is no other way of putting it: a distinguished academic has been driven out of her job at a British university. For insisting on the reality of biological sex. A belief protected in law. Scarcely believable, and a terrible commentary on the poisonous atmosphere at some educational institutions. How could it come to this?

First, no one should be in any doubt about what Professor Kathleen Stock has gone through. ‘This has been an absolutely horrible time for me and my family,’ she writes on Twitter, announcing her decision to leave. ‘I’m putting it behind me now. On to brighter things soon, I hope.’

Many of us who saw the posters and masked protesters targeting Stock at Sussex two weekends ago will share that hope. But what has ended so badly for her has much wider implications. The Vice-chancellor, Adam Tickell, has written to all staff at Sussex, insisting that the university ‘has vigorously and unequivocally defended [Stock’s] right to exercise her academic freedom and lawful freedom of speech, free from bullying and harassment of any kind’.

Stock has responded by saying that the university leadership’s approach ‘more recently has been admirable and decent’, leaving open the question of what it did when she was first targeted. Because Stock and other gender critical academics, such as Professor Jo Phoenix of the Open University, have faced slurs and bullying for at least two years — so much so that Phoenix is raising funds to take the OU to an employment tribunal.

For too long, other academics have looked the other way, afraid of being targeted themselves, or in some cases even joined in the harassment. Who could forget the posters around Sussex demanding that Stock should be fired? Yet those of us who denounced the gender extremists behind the bullying of feminists, after our meetings to defend women’s rights were picketed by screaming trans activists, have been primly told that the issue is ‘toxic on both sides’.

It is hard to sustain this nonsense when you have seen the venom with your own eyes. Earlier this month, when women from all over the country gathered in Portsmouth to discuss violence against women, we had to walk past trans activists bearing posters that threatened us with sexual violence in the most obscene language imaginable.

On the ‘other side’ are lesbians like Stock and Phoenix, who simply ask to do their jobs — to ask awkward questions in a polite manner — without threats. On the ‘other side’ are women who highlight the conflict between the rights of vulnerable women in prisons and men who demand the right to be housed with them.

What has happened to Stock is indefensible — and it is shocking that the situation at Sussex was allowed to reach the point where she feels she has to leave. But it should also be the biggest red flag for people, including far too many academics and MPs, who have tried to keep their heads down.

Misogyny is rampant among gender extremists, and Stock’s resignation is the direct result. If you really care about women, now is the time to speak.

Join the discussion


To join the discussion, get the free daily email and read more articles like this, sign up.

It's simple, quick and free.

Sign me up
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
58 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
11 months ago

Awful. Absolutely despicable treatment and a sad sad day for Academia.

This nonsense has to stop.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
11 months ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

Totally agree but how? Really, a university would have to be closed or have its funding removed but these steps are probably not legally viable.

Removing government funding for specific projects would force the university to sort itself out . To do this would invoke cries of ‘extremism’ or ‘facism’. Difficult problem. We need a voice like UnHerd but with 100,000 members.

Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

She had complete support from her university (albeit it late in the day.)

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
11 months ago
Reply to  Eddie Murphy

Does support mean a good pay-off?

William Cameron
William Cameron
11 months ago
Reply to  Eddie Murphy

No she didnt . Who has been disciplined and sacked from the University for attacking her ?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

“Totally agree but how?”
There needs to be an “I’m Spartacus” campaign among non-woke and anti-woke academics.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

It is not that it is a difficult problem: it is that summoning the will to take a stand is proving difficult. How to rouse a band of moral couch-potatoes to their feet?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

She did not have ‘complete support from her university’ – that ‘too late’ is utterly crucial.

Students or staff engaged in such outrageous bullying should be straight up before disciplinary boards and expelled if they do not apologise and make commitments not to repeat their offences. That is what support would look like!

Last edited 11 months ago by Andrew Fisher
John Tyler
John Tyler
11 months ago

Too many senior academics have accepted the validity of post modernism. (As a philosophical thought experiment it may be of interest, though in practical terms it is,of course, navel-gazing nonsense. Academics should see its origins for what they were: a means of undermining reality and hence the the system of politics and economics that actually works in practice. )

Postmodernism requires that everything is equally valid and so those taken in by it treat the Stockphobics with respect, when what they deserve is to be sent down for bullying and preventing free academic debate. At the very least they should be openly castigated for being intellectually lazy and childishly self-centred.

George Glashan
George Glashan
11 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

They flatter themselves that only they are clever enough to use post modernism to dismantle the existing authority and that no one will be clever enough to use post modernism to dismantle the authority they will then wield. intelligent yet idiots as Nasim Talab puts it.

Last edited 11 months ago by George Glashan
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

Post modernism bred Woke. A pox on post modernism…. People have abandoned logic – what is important is a person’s lived experience. This in no way implies that there are no real victims. There are, but somehow it is too easy to abdicate adult discourse and debate and claim lived experience.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago

Postmodernism is proof that Satan’s greatest strength is making humans believe he does not exist. Pinker and his atheist Secular Humanist philosophy of Nilos, thought to be wisdom, is the example of this.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago

Yes, lived experience claims supremacy over life experience. There is a big difference between the two.

Annie Nonimouse
Annie Nonimouse
11 months ago

Studying A level sociology, got me as far as, seeing post-modernism everywhere. When I saw it being used to dismantle our metta narratives and institutions, I thought yes this is post modernism, we are in an era of post-modernism. I never understood it as a thing from upon high that was being done to society, but as a thing that was happening organically.
Saying I’m a psot-modernist, meant to me, I believe we are in a post modern era.

William Cameron
William Cameron
11 months ago

Is there an English translation of this post please ?

Annie Nonimouse
Annie Nonimouse
11 months ago

Sorry, I don’t have better words. I wish I could express my thoughts, questions more coherently.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago

You can get an A level in Sociology?

Annie Nonimouse
Annie Nonimouse
11 months ago

No, wish I had., Alevels were what you needed to enter university.
The statement was me wondering if other people had understood post-modernism this way too.

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
11 months ago

Academic wokies refer to it as ‘Standpoint Theory’.
Apparently it trumps science, objectivity, empiricism, democracy and the need for debate.
I have no doubt that the good folk at UnHerd will have their own, more red blooded descriptions.

Last edited 11 months ago by Karl Francis
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
11 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

Looking at this obliquely, you can visualise the string of cults starting with the lot in Frankfurt and culminating in post modernism but… you could also look at more basic side of things. These people with no real talent are getting paid for what they say and write. Human nature tells me that, for every one believer in post modernism there would be several who weren’t real believers but just jumping on the bandwagon.
When this wagon train is rolling, you can’t just repeat the same philosophy over and over – you have to be more and more extreme to be valued ahead of the others. You could see it all as a fraud but one which is not against the law.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
11 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

Neo-Marxism is directly from Frankfurt School Critical Theroy and Post Modernism with psychoanalyst and is the actual fighting side of the woke agenda. Like say, antifa is to BLM.

“Neo-Marxism is a Marxist school of thought encompassing 20th-century approaches that amend or extend Marxism and Marxist theory, typically by incorporating elements from other intellectual traditions such as critical theory, psychoanalysis, or existentialism.”

Neo-Marxism is the change from the Marx Philosophy that there are Capitalist Oppressors, and the Oppressed, Proletariat, where one may move between groups – to the philosophy that Identity Politics are the source of Oppressor/Oppressed, and they are immutable. Race, Sex, National Origin, and so on. That all are made up of identities, and all are oppressed, and some are the oppressors. The concept of Intersectionality. And the only answer is Equity. (pay-back)

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
11 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Pretty good. Yes, the Frankfurt School spawned Critical Theory and culminated in Antonio Gramsci and his frightful essay Repressive Tolerance. Read that and see the nightmarish totalitarian mindset in action.
The French Postmoderns came later (60s/70s) and unfortunately their thinking was usurped by black, feminist, marxist scholars in the late 80s whereby the postmodern ideas were distorted and abused to suite the oppressor/oppressed and their fanciful intersectional identity politics mindset.
This is a political-moral movement and is not one rooted in a scientific frame of reference to reality – the scientific method is the at-present best method for examining reality. As such it relies on social constructivism as the exclusive frame of reference for what we perceive. I think this anti science belief is rooted in the PoMo of Foucault.

R S Foster
R S Foster
11 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

…I’ve always felt that the root of post-modernism was the abject humiliation that French “Intellectuals” felt in occupied Paris, with the jackbooted legions of the Third Reich strutting about…much easier to convince yourself that objective reality was “meaningless” in some incoherent way…than accept that you and your countrymen were cowardly poltroons…

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
11 months ago
Reply to  R S Foster

Michel Foucault was a resentful, self-harming narcissist was he not?
I await correction if anyone knows better. My understanding is that he had issues with his (exceptionally) well off parents and also his homosexuality.
A rather troubled individual.

Last edited 11 months ago by Karl Francis
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
11 months ago

After Rashford and Sanchez were abused on line it was reported that 5 people had been arrested. Where are the arrests for hate speech against lesbian academic Stock? Don’t lesbian rights matter to the police?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

It does seem odd that we’ve heard nothing about any police or University investigation of those organising and participating in the harassment of Stock.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I find the whole concept of being abused online nonsensical.

A. There is something called a Block button
B. There is something called ‘ignoring it’
C. The idea that Rashford and co personally sit and read through the 1000s of comments on Twitter every day, ignore the nice ones and focus on the nasty ones, suggests to me some kind of narcissistic disorder.
D. Most celebrities DON’T read the comments, they have an assistant do it for them. Which begs the question, how are they being traumatised unless their assistant actually decides to tell them all about the bad Tweets.

Such a weird concept. Being offended by, or even criminalised for, a tweet.

Claire D
Claire D
11 months ago

I am so sorry this has happened to Kathleen Stock. It seems incredible that it has come to this, though I realise she is not the first person to go through this kind of attack.
Re the vile placards of the protesters in Portsmouth, I would have thought they broke the obscenity laws, I simply don’t understand why the police did not arrest the protesters holding them and remove them.
I think a strike by academics is in order to support her, but those days seem to be over, instead her union has done the opposite, which is utterly shameful. The authorities must get a handle on this bullying, there should be zero tolerance for such behaviour.
My best wishes to Kathleen Stock for the future.

Last edited 11 months ago by Claire D
Karl Francis
Karl Francis
11 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

Yes, this is a terrible situation.
Bullies are attaining ever greater influence and claiming ‘moral supremacy’ in order to bulldoze through their doctrine. Democracy and debate to the woke mob, are inconvenient hindrances to be trampled underfoot.
How specifically to fight back, that’s the question?

Claire D
Claire D
11 months ago
Reply to  Karl Francis

Well for a start do something about the Equality Act 2010, get rid of the protected characteristics legislation which attempts to stop discrimination by discriminating, completely illogical, + the statutory obligations, which encourage and justify the bad behaviour to a considerable extent by putting pressure on institutions to ‘protect’ people with protected characteristics (from being upset in any way), but they prioritise one group over the other according to their preference. I think it’s bad law which has tied us up in knots and is very much to blame for our present awful situation. One day it will have to go, the sooner the better.
It is an attempt to make society good and kind by law, essentially replacing Christianity with legislation. It will not work.
There are other areas that are adding to the problem, but that ‘ll do for starters.

Last edited 11 months ago by Claire D
Karl Francis
Karl Francis
11 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

Thankyou, fair play.
Although I privately agree with your deeper sentiment regarding the replacement of faith by law, (probably doomed to failure as you say) … this battle won’t be won by pointing to the good book and hoping people come to their senses.
I pray, I wear a cross, but this world is a different place now. People are no longer swayed by such things, (more’s the pity).
Please don’t think I’m advocating a theocracy here, that’s not what I’m driving at.
I’m not qualified to judge the legal suggestions you made, at face value they seem very sensible and well thought out,
– thankyou.
Come at the wokies with God ‘though, and they’ll laugh you off campus.

Last edited 11 months ago by Karl Francis
Claire D
Claire D
11 months ago
Reply to  Karl Francis

Oh I entirely agree. I was definitely not suggesting Christianity was the answer.
The purpose of the law is to protect people and their property, within reason, to enable them to exist and live as freely and safely as possible. If people find their way to being good and kind that is their business, it is not the business of the law.
I am not interested in reforming these bullies, I want to see them controlled and punished within the law, as they should be.

Last edited 11 months ago by Claire D
Karl Francis
Karl Francis
11 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

Ah, sorry, (my mistake).
Mind broadened. Religion aside:
In the film ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ Steve Martin,(playing a con man) makes the point that:
“It is always better to be kind and good, than to not.”
Wokism lacks warmth, humility, genuine compassion, (and humour).
What a great victory for the revolution… how proud they must feel,
to have hounded Kathleen Stock out of her job.

Last edited 11 months ago by Karl Francis
Graeme Laws
Graeme Laws
11 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

Spot on. Dreadful legislation foisted on us by, I think, Harriet Hartman. But who is brave enough to repeal it?

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
11 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

Agree. When they brought this stuff in I thought then it would end badly. The law should treat everyone equally. Bullies are bullies. How is it worse to be abused or bullied for being gay or black than it is for being fat, ginger, spotty, smelly, supporting the wrong football team or just ‘looking at someone funny’? If you’re in hospital with a busted face it doesn’t feel better if you’re just a cis white straight guy ffs.

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
11 months ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Agreed.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
11 months ago
Reply to  Karl Francis

I am with Prof Eric Kaufman of Birkbeck College, London. His proposition, as I understand it, it that there are, broadly speaking, roughly three hierarchical tiers in British culture – Government, institutions and the public. His view is that where institutional capture is enforcing a repressive ideological viewpoint on members of the public, or students or workforce, the only remedy can come from a higher authority – government. Therefore government intervention is required, through specific policies that prohibit coercion and the use of threat and force.

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
11 months ago

Thankyou, very useful.
Mind broadened.
P. S. I saw Boghossian being interviewed on GBNews. Inspiring.

Last edited 11 months ago by Karl Francis
michael stanwick
michael stanwick
11 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

Check out Peter Boghossian at Portland State Uni. His resignation letter went viral. Similar situation to Kathleen Stock. Fortunately, Boghossian is, among others, involved in the setting up of a Uni in Austin, Texas, devoted to free and open academic enquiry and learning.

Claire D
Claire D
11 months ago

Thanks, yes, I have heard of him. The Americans are fortunate in that respect, as I understand it they have a number of private colleges which presumably have more control over how they are run.

Julia H
Julia H
11 months ago

I’m very disappointed that the trans extremists have managed to hound this academic out of her job. They will chalk this up as a victory.

Elsewhere I read that the BBC article about lesbians being coerced to have sex with trans women has garnered a letter of complaint with 16,000 signatures. The chief complaint is that the article is biased against trans people and relies on a survey that is so small as to be statistically insignificant. Apparently the tiny numbers (80 people) don’t matter. However tiny numbers do appear to matter when trans activists shriek about the number of people who are at risk of suicide when society fails to indulge their demands for the world to change to accommodate their preferences. They can’t have it both ways.

As for the BBC being biased against trans people, I can only assume those making this accusation have never seen the BBC’s Newsbeat pages, where everything is rainbows and unicorns and being ‘qu**r’ is celebrated without question.

The outright misogyny displayed by trans activists when anyone stands up to them is truly alarming. They really hate being challenged.

Last edited 11 months ago by Julia H
R MS
R MS
11 months ago

If you really care about women, now is the time to speak.
And if you really care about free speech and free thought now is the time to speak as well.
Everyone has a right to put their case. No one has a right to prevent anyone else doing the same.
Instrumentalised complaints of ‘Transphobia’, preposterous allegations of ‘feeling unsafe’, direct bullying and harrassment are all designed to carry by force an extremist ideology that cannot prevail in argument.
In a free society this is intolerable and must be crushed.

Andrew D
Andrew D
11 months ago

This is a dreadful story and all responsible should feel thoroughly ashamed (although the concept of shame will be alien to them).
But…
I’m happy to be shot down on this, but is all this nastiness best described as misogyny? True, it includes hatred of women, but it also includes self-hatred and hatred of everybody else. Isn’t it just simple misanthropy?

Michael Loudon
Michael Loudon
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

As the film critic once said of the wonderful French film Le Saleur du Peur – “the director doesn’t just hate women, he hates everybody.”
however, I’d suggest that abusive trans activist behaviour in this instance is predominantly misogynist.

Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
11 months ago
Reply to  Michael Loudon

I also have difficulty understanding why this is misogny – a hatred of women. It seems that these people have a hatred of people who disagree with their views. It would seem nonsensical if trans activists hated women given that many trans people are men who wish to be identified as women. Although how that can be the case if genders don’t exist I really don’t comprehend.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jeff Carr
Norman Powers
Norman Powers
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Carr

Yep, and then feminists wonder why more people don’t rally to their cause. Well, because of that exact worldview: they’re still trying to (re)establish group-based hierarchies in which women are more important than men. Loads of men have been abused by trans activists, look at Jordan Peterson, but this writer doesn’t seem to care about them. Instead we learn that this academic is gay and female and attacks on her views are therefore “misogyny”. Dividing the population into groups and asserting a hierarchy of oppression is exactly the mental pattern that led to this, but some people never learn.

Andrew D
Andrew D
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Carr

I don’t think you got the memo Jeff – it’s s e x that doesn’t exist, not gender. Or at least there there’s no such thing as women (my understanding is that men do exist). Meanwhile, there are hundreds of genders. Apparently.
But if something doesn’t exist, you can’t hate it can you? Nor can you become it, surely? You’d have to be mad, wouldn’t you?
So, maybe I need to qualify my comment above. It seems that trans activists above all hate themselves for being what they are. And secondly, they hate women for being what they (the activists) cannot be.

Last edited 11 months ago by Andrew D
Claire D
Claire D
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Excellent point re misogyny v’s misanthropy, I’m with you there.

William Cameron
William Cameron
11 months ago

Why have the Police not given the same service of arresting the attackers as they gave to Rashford ?

Kathryn Allegro
Kathryn Allegro
11 months ago

What have the biology professors at Sussex had to say about this?

Karl Francis
Karl Francis
11 months ago

Excellent point.

William Cameron
William Cameron
11 months ago

No UK university will have the courage to Employ Stock now . This is appalling.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
11 months ago

The issue is not “toxic on both sides”. This is because one side — the trans lobby — is attempting to ram one of the biggest lies in human history down peoples throats, the idea that people can change sex, while the other side — normal people — aren’t buying a word of it. There is simply no room for compromise. A lie of that magnitude is a power play. If you accept any little bit of it, you’ve lost.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago

I believe she may not be the only academic to be witch hunted out of the university.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
11 months ago

Something that struck me in some of the commentary I’ve seen – the concept that students are now *paying customers*. This might go some way to explaining why these universities kowtow and capitulate to these activists. The adults have abdicated their responsibility to say ‘No’ and given the kids the power.

Julia H
Julia H
11 months ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

In a fair world those students who refuse to accept free speech or alternative viewpoints would be booted off their course with a full refund of their fees, with the simple justifications that 1) their intellect is insufficiently developed to benefit from the education on offer and 2) their presence on campus is likely to damage the education of students better prepared to learn.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
11 months ago

Why has this happened? Because most academics are either complicit in or indifferent to totalitarianism, where a minority view can be met by threats of violence.
How do we get out of this situation? Firstly the police could do their job and investigate and if necessary prosecute those people making the threats. In the unlikely event of this happening we need to crowd fund campaigns where academics sue their employers not just for unfair dismissal but for failing to protect their employees from threats.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
11 months ago

Well said. We need to start punishing the extremist bullies, they are complete cowards and things have been left to go far too far. This would involve the expulsion of any students and staff carrying out such threats, and heavy fines being levied on academic institutions that did not put such sanctions in their policies, or use them when they should. If they can’t police themselves, commissioners should be appointed to oversee compliance. It sounds draconian, but we need a big kickback.