Universities are doing nothing to stop them
I have lost count of how many times I have been de-platformed from universities since I was declared to be “transphobic” by the National Union of Students (NUS) in 2008. The playbook is always the same: I am invited either by students or academic staff, and then publicly cancelled.
But now, the grown-ups have been exposed as more irresponsible and immature than the students. The University and College Union (UCU), headed by trans activist Jo Grady, gave us a taster of a pending investigation on UCU’s activities last week in a TikTok (what else?) of her berating Times journalist James Beal. According to Grady, Beal had been asking questions of UCU members over their support for “trans rights”. Posting the video on Twitter, Grady stated firmly that “UCU stands unequivocally with trans people.”
The gist of the Times story, published today, is that UCU has been busy compiling lists of university staff who hold “gender critical beliefs” (i.e. that sex is immutable and gender is a social construction) — beliefs that are deemed “worthy of respect in a democratic society” as per the Maya Forstater case and further clarified by Allison Bailey.
UCU had planned on using the information to “inform” UCU university branches of their colleagues’ views, accusing them of being “transphobes” and “gender-critical activists”.
This looks like a witch hunt to me.
Last year, Grady refused to condemn the bullying and vilification of my friend Kathleen Stock, who was effectively ousted from her job as philosophy professor from the University of Sussex. As Brady noted at the time: “I don’t feel the need to say whether I back anybody.” So, Grady, who earned more than £140,000 last year, did not feel the need to back one of her members who was being harassed, threatened, and pushed out of her job because of her perfectly reasonable beliefs.
It is no wonder the Times has been investigating the shocking behaviour of UCU. At the height of Stock’s ordeal at Sussex, the Sussex branch of UCU said in a statement that “all trans and non-binary members now more than ever should receive the unequivocal support” of the union. So in this latest episode of “Orwell could not make this stuff up”, the bullies have become the victims.
Universities are no longer places of learning, but of fear-mongering and mollycoddling. Yesterday, it was revealed that a number of universities have been adding trigger warnings to, and in some cases removing, over 1,000 texts in order to “protect” students from “challenging” material. One of those books, Straight Expectations: What does it mean to be gay today? was written by me. Explaining why a warning was attached to the book, the Glasgow School of Art statement reads: “Her views…have been criticised as transphobic by some activists and writers.”
UCU is supposed to “protect and advance the interests of its members in the workplace” but instead, under Grady, it has become a friend to bullies and censors.