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University of Oxford condemned for failing trans students amid row over appointments of ‘transphobic’ professors

Vic Parsons October 8, 2020
Hundreds of Oxford students condemn choice of 'transphobic' professors

The University of Oxford has been called on to improve the welfare of its transgender and non-binary students. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The University of Oxford has been accused of “tacitly sanctioning” transphobia and asked to take concrete steps to “improve the welfare of trans students”.

The demands for better trans awareness at the university are contained in an open letter to the pro-vice-chancellor that has been signed by more than 500 students, who condemn the appointment of “transphobic” professors to lead the University of Oxford’s new women’s rights programme.

The students said that the choice of professors “reflects a wider apathy towards the wellbeing of trans students at Oxford”.

These two professors have negatively impacted both the lives and experiences of trans students and researchers at the University of Oxford, and the discourse on trans issues globally, as trans members of the University and their allies have been saying for years,” says the open letter.

“Their appointment tacitly sanctions their views and perpetuates a hostile and exclusionary environment for trans people at the Martin school.”

Professor Selina Todd and professor Senia Paseta were recently chosen to lead the Oxford Martin Programme on Women’s Equality and Inequality.

Todd is a University of Oxford professor who teaches modern history at St Hilda’s College, who says on her website that she identifies as a “gender critical feminist” and was described by her own students as “transphobic” in 2019 over her ties to the anti-trans group Woman’s Place UK (WPUK).

The University of Oxford has previously been accused of fostering anti-trans views after Todd was platformed at a conference organised by Oxford International Women’s Festival.

When several trans allies promptly withdrew from the event, Todd was asked by organisers not to speak.

There are 508 students now calling on Todd, Paseta and the university to “publicly commit to including trans women in their research”.

They also demand that the University of Oxford adopt the Trans Actual UK definition of transphobia, “to better be able to determine when something transphobic has occurred”, as well as removing “professors with a history of transphobic views” from student-facing roles and for the university to “publicly reaffirm its commitment to support trans students (including non-binary identities) and to present a plan to improve the welfare of such students”.

These requests are “the beginning of a process of dialogue to improve the welfare of trans students at Oxford”, the students say.

Todd has previously “refuted” the idea that she or WPUK is transphobic.

PinkNews has contacted University of Oxford for comment.

 

 

 

More: selina todd, Senia Paseta, TransActual, transphobia, University of Oxford, Women's Place UK

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