A university trade union leader has refused condemn the expulsion of a University of Sussex professor after students launched a bullying and harassment campaign against her views on gender politics.

Kathleen Stock, 48, was sacked by angry students after she claimed that transphobia is a belief that people cannot change their biological sex.

The feminist academic had accused the Sussex branch of the University and College Union of ‘effectively’ ending her career after it called on her employer to take a ‘strong stance’ against transphobia.

Jo Grady, the general-secretary for the University and College Union refused to condemn student protesters who sought to expel Ms Stock, a professor in philosophy.

Ms Grady spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today program this morning and decried what she called ‘consistent misinformation’ about the actions of Sussex UCU during the row. 

According to the Sussex branch, all transgender and non-binary people should receive the unambiguous support of the University of Sussex.

Ms. Grady was asked if she was sorry that Ms. Stock had lost her job. She replied: “It’s really unfortunate that anybody in higher education feels like they have been chased from their jobs.

“I’m afraid that it’s not my intention to comment on any individual members. And I think that especially since the Sussex branch made a clear statement condemning bullying, I don’t think I will be.

“She has the right to feel whatever she wants.”

When asked whether she supported Ms Stock by UCU, the general-secretary of the UCU said: “I don’t feel the necessity to say whether or not I support anyone.” 

Kathleen Stock

Jo Grady

The general-secretary of the University and College Union, Jo Grady (right), has refused to condemn the ousting of Kathleen Stock (left) from her position at the University of Sussex by students

Trans activists celebrated after Ms Stock quit her University of Sussex job

Trans activists celebrate Ms Stock’s resignation from her University of Sussex job

Kathleen Stock explains her views on gender and trans issues in her own words. 

Kathleen Stock has written to Parliament, November 2020, her views on trans-related issues.

  • Manhood and womanhood reflect biological sex, rather than gender or gender identity.
  • The claim that “transwomen” are women is a fiction, and not literal truth
  • Sexual orientation (being homosexual, being lesbian, etc.) is determined by the same-sex attraction and not gender identity.
  • Spaces where women sleep and undress should be kept sexless in order to protect them.
  • Children with gender identity disorder should not be allowed to take puberty blocks as minors.

“What I want to say is that I believe there has been misinformation about the Sussex branch. They issued a statement condemning bullying and harassment. It did not call for anyone to lose their job. However, there is constant misinformation trying to make it appear that they did. 

“And I think they did sterling in upholding academic freedom, upholding that people shouldn’t be bullied or harassed, and also upholding people’s right to attend campus and not to be bullied or harassed and having their rights respected.

“I think it’s really important that we correct the misinformation that’s been around, about what Sussex UCU did and did not do.” 

Ms Stock had received support from more than 200 fellow academics in a letter to Sunday Times Signed by Sir Partha Dasgupta, a Cambridge economist, and Sir Michael Pepper, physicist.

The letter, which was titled “We will not bow down to trans activist bullying on campus”, stated that this was not a matter of freedom of expression. It’s also an issue of harassment, discrimination, and discrimination.

“Universities are creating hostile environments for students and staff who recognize that sex is important.

“Most victims are female and many are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.”

Ms. Stock spoke about the first time this week. About her resignation from her position of twenty-years on BBC Woman’s Hour.

According to the academic, she believes that trans women aren’t women and trans men aren’t men. However, these views are compatible with protecting trans people.

She called her university departure ‘completely humiliating’, ‘a defining point in my life’, but said she had no regrets’ about it and maintained her belief that only female spaces should be protected.

Ms. Stock said that returning to campus for her belongings was an ‘anxious’ event and that she felt anxious on the train to Woman’s Hour. She added, “My life has changed completely.”

She suggested that a small group of academics opposed to her inflamed student protests by ‘radically misleading my views’, saying: “I don’t know whether the student activity would be there if it hadn’t already been here.

In a 30-minute interview, she spoke out about how intense student activity was after ‘three and-a-half years’ of low-level bullying harassment and reputation destruction by colleagues. It all began, she says when she first started writing about gender-identity policy.

Instead of discussing her views with her directly she stated that some staff members had mobilised students against her during lectures.

Ms. Stock explained that there is a small group who oppose what I say. Instead of engaging in argument with me using reason, evidence and the traditional university methods, these people tell their students in lectures about how I can cause harm to trans students. 

This week, Ms Stock spoke for the first time about about resigning from her post of twenty years on BBC Woman's Hour

Ms. Stock spoke this week for the first-time about her resignation from her position of twenty years on BBC Woman’s Hour. 

Posters put up in the tunnel from Falmer station to the university's campus said she 'makes trans students unsafe' and 'we're not paying £9,250 a year for transphobia'

Posters put up in the tunnel from Falmer station to the university’s campus said she ‘makes trans students unsafe’ and ‘we’re not paying £9,250 a year for transphobia’

Banners saying 'Stock Out' had also been held alongside burning flares and scores of people were criticising her online under the Twitter hashtag #ShameOnSussexUni

A banner stating “Stock Out” was also displayed alongside burning flares. Scores of people were also criticizing her online under the hashtag #ShameOnSussexUni

Open University criminology professor said that’male-bodied trans women should NOT be kept in female prisons. She is subject to public harassment and is sometimes compared with a ‘racist uncle at Christmas dinner’ for her gender critical beliefs 

A Professor of Criminology from the Open University described how she was compared with a racist uncle at Christmas dinner table for her gender critical beliefs.

Professor Jo Phoenix has crowdfunded more than £80,000 to fight her current employers for not protecting her from a bullying campaign after she expressed views about the silencing of academic debate on transgender issues.

She claims that the Open University, where she began her work in 2016,’shattered’ her dreams and made it feel ‘like a paediah’.

Professor Phoenix stated that she has been publicly vilified, and subject to public harassment, for launching the Open University’s gender critical research network.

She also stated that her belief that male-bodied prisoners should be kept out of female prisons led to her being called a transphobic, racist.

She hopes to protect female academics against ‘the vicious bullying perpetrated in our belief system on sex and gender’ by bringing the Open University before an employment tribunal.

In July, the High Court ruled that the Government’s policy of housing transgender women within female prisons was legal. This decision came amid claims by an inmate that it increased the risk of sex attacks.

Karen White, a man born in 1978, was put in HMP New Hall for women after he revealed that he was a woman to authorities. In 2018, he sexually assaulted two female prisoners.


“Or they go on Twitter and declare that I’m racist.”

Ms. Barnett was told by her that feeling unsafe does not mean you are in danger. She hopes students will realize that the world isn’t as hostile as they think.

The feminist professor, who identified as a lesbian, stated that she was first aware of the complexities involved in the trans rights movement after she saw’men’ on lesbian dating sites.

When asked by Woman’s Hour host if she meant’men’, she replied: ‘I do not know what they were’. She explained that some people had a physical appearance that was traditionally masculine but ‘with feminine names’.

She explained: “The categories are changing in radical fashions and ‘lesbians’ is one of them. Lesbians feel pressured to accept that transgender people can be lesbians. This has led to lesbians being more aware of this than straight people.

“There isn’t the same pressure on straight men and straight women.”

She said that she was ‘ostracized’ at the university while working there and that she had a ‘terrible anxiety nightmare’ of seeing her name on posters all over campus, reading ‘Stock Out’ and ‘Stock is a Transphobe.

Ms Stock said, “The narrative about me has so many differences from who I think I am.”

The academic said that she had ‘happily’ taught trans students throughout the course of her career and was contacted after her resignation.

Despite the University stating that they would not dismiss Ms Stock and defending her right of academic freedom and lawful speech freedom, free from bullying or harassment, she decided to quit last week.

“So they create an atmosphere in which students are more extreme and more empowered to do the same thing they did.”

She said that while she doesn’t believe that academics intentionally created this situation, she did think that students often view them as role models.

“If you’re a student in a class, and your lecturer is saying that there are some views that are just outside the pale that shouldn’t be debated, then look, there are some views.

“Then automatically when you say something that makes your bigot.

“You only need to go to Twitter to see who has said it.

“This is a small group of people who are really quite extreme. People often misrepresent my views in departmental meetings. They say things like, “Oh, she thinks all transwomen are rapists.” Or she she is a bigot. She is horrible, she doesn’t like trans people.”

“And all of that is completely false.” But I am less able to change the narrative. 

Some students were outraged that Ms Stock, a specialist in gender and sexual orientation, was called a ‘transphobe by’ them.

Posters put up in the tunnel from Falmer station to the university’s campus earlier this month said she ‘makes trans students unsafe’ and ‘we’re not paying £9,250 a year for transphobia’.

Attention on her views has intensified since her book Material Girls came out in May

Since May, when her book Material Girls was published, the attention on her views has increased.

In addition to holding banners stating “Stock Out”, hundreds of people were also critiquing her online under #ShameOnSussexUni.

Adam Tickell, the Vice-Chancellor at the University, strongly defended her untrammelled’ right to say what she believes’. In addition, more than 200 academics representing other universities signed a letter denouncing alleged abuses by ‘trans activist bullying’.

Ms Stock eventually announced via Twitter that she was resigning from her position and that she hoped that ‘other institutions can take this lesson’.

In a letter to staff Adam Tickell, Sussex’s Vice-Chancellor, stated that the university had defended her right ‘exercice her academic freedoms and lawful freedoms of speech, free of bullying and harassment of any sort’.

He added, “We had hoped Professor Stock could feel able return to work. And we would have supported that.”

“She has decided that it is not possible due to recent events, and we are respectful and understand her decision.

“We will be missing her many contributions, from whom the University has benefited throughout her time here.”

After posters were posted calling for her firing, the Sussex Police launched an investigation into Professor Stock’s harassment.

Kishwer Falkner (head of the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission) was among those who attacked the academic.

She wrote to The Times to denounce bullying behavior by a minority students who disagree with an entirely legal expert view.

The equality watchdog chief acknowledged that trans rights must be protected in her public letter. However, she reiterated the importance academic integrity and freedom to express oneself on UK university campuses.

Ms. Stock also spoke out, telling her 46,000 followers on Twitter: ‘If your work is where I do, you know what’s going on at the moment (which will be discussed later), this is the right time to speak up.

“Not for me but for you.” What kind of future can a university have if intimidation dictates what is taught or said?

The group that led the protests against her was an anonymous group called ‘Anti Terf Sussex’. This collective described itself as an unaffiliated network for queer and trans students’. Terf is a trans-exclusionary radical feminist.

It was JK Rowling’s reaction to an article about “people who menstruate” that led to the accusation.

The author had tweeted last summer: “I’m sure there was a word to describe those people” suggesting that it was ‘women”.