OPEN LETTER TO PROFESSOR STEPHEN TOOPE

Dear Vice-Chancellor,

We write as concerned academics at the University of Cambridge on the subject of the much-publicised appointment of Toby Young to the board of the new Office for Students. (For the moment we will set aside our scepticism regarding the creation of the OfS). As a journalist and public figure, Young is a serial purveyor of misogynist, homophobic, racist and able-ist commentary. His Twitter feed, much of which he has now deleted in a transparent attempt to cover his tracks, is rife with derogatory and objectifying comments about women’s bodies. He has sneered at the provision of wheelchair access for the disabled. He has mocked the presence of working class students at Oxford and Cambridge. These are not isolated comments; they form a pattern of commentary. Nor are they exercises in free-thinking or flirtations with 'political incorrectness’; they are vicious and belittling attacks on specifically named communities. We note that many of these comments violate the ‘Dignity at Work’ policies which the University upholds, and that Young has repeatedly attacked the existence of the Equality Act of 2010 (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-42540363), which the University is legally obliged to respect.

One of your first actions as Vice-Chancellor of this University was to promote the “Breaking the Silence” campaign. Given your public commitment to gender equality and to the condemnation of sexual misconduct, we believe it desirable, just and indeed urgently necessary that you repudiate Young’s appointment to the OfS. Failure to do so would be a de facto legitimisation of the culture of sexual harassment and gender inequality, the dismantling of which you have bravely made a hallmark of your new administration.

As teaching staff of this University, we express our grave concern at the appointment of Young to a regulatory body with oversight of universities and ask that you make a public statement that conveys this disquiet, which is felt across the Cambridge community.

Yours sincerely,

Name                                Faculty/College Affiliation

John David Rhodes                 MML

Priyamvada Gopal                English

Jason Scott-Warren                English

Robert Macfarlane                English

James Riley                            English

Mary Laven                              History, Jesus

David Goode                                Divinity, Wolfson

Caroline Gonda                         English, St Catharine’s

Rachael Harris                        AMES

Hugues Azérad                             MML

Rhiannon Harries                    Corpus Christi

Ian Patterson                        English, Queens’

Geoffrey Kantaris                         MML

Simon Szreter                         History

Maite Conde                        MML

Lauren Wilcox                        Gender Studies

Martin Ruehl                        MML

Richard Jennings                        HPS

Owen Saxton                        Physics, Murray Edwards

Drew Milne                                English

Michael Rice                        Criminology

Zygmunt G Baranski                MML

Alice Blackhurst                      MML, King’s

Trudi Tate                                Clare Hall

Emma Spary                        History, Corpus Christi

Waseem Yaqoob                        History, Pembroke

Lucy Delap                                History, Murray Edwards

Christopher Prendergrast        MML

Maria Manuel Lisboa                MML, St. John’s

Edward Anderson                        POLIS, Trinity

George Roberts                        History, Trinity

Ewan St. John Smith                Pharmacology, Corpus Christi

Harry Smith                                Geography

Duncan Bell                             POLIS

Bill Burgwinkle                        MML

Devon Curtis                        POLIS, Emmanuel

Geoffrey Maguire                        MML, Murray Edwards

Ian Roberts, FBA                        MML, Downing

Viviane C. da Annunciação         MML, St John’s

Lucia Ruprecht                        MML, Emmanuel

Rory O’Bryen                        MML, King’s

Mark Harrison                        Christ’s, St John’s
Mezna Qato                        AMES, King’s

Catherine Burke                        Faculty of Education

Emma Mawdsley                        Geography

Martin Worthington                Archaeology, St John’s

Rory Finnin                                Slavonic Studies, MML, Robinson

Samuel James                        History, Christ’s

Georgina Evans                        MML, St John’s

Steven Watson                        Education, Wolfson

John P Carr                        Plant Sciences

Stefano Castelvecchi                 Music, St John’s

Sinead Garrigan Mattar                English, Girton

Sam Lucy                                Archaeology, Newnham

Michael Hrebeniak                English, Wolfson

Charles Jones                         POLIS (emeritus)

Raphael Lyne                        English, Murray Edwards

Deborah Thom                        History, Robinson

Heather Webb                        MML, Selwyn

Pierpaolo Antonello                MML, St John’s

Simon Schaffer                        HPS, Darwin

Annemarie Künzl-Snodgrass  MML, Jesus

Barak Kushner                        AMES, Corpus

Judy Quinn                                ASNC, Newnham

Manali Desai                              Sociology

Sheila Watts                        MML, Newnham

Marina Frasca-Spada                 Philosophy, Corpus

Arathi Sriprakash                        Faculty of Education

Emma Wilson                          French, Corpus

Andrew Webber                      MML, Churchill

Lesley MacVinish                        Pharmacology, Wolfson

Talitha Kearey                         Classics, Clare

Alexandre Kabla                        Engineering, Emmanuel

Vic Gatrell                                History, Caius

Ewan Jones                        English, Downing

Mary Newbould                        English, Wolfson

Gavin Alexander                        English

Philip Nigst                                Archaeology

Anna Bagnoli                        Sociology, Wolfson

Fred Parker                                English, Clare

Robert Gordon                        MML

Peter de Bolla                        English, King’s

Isobel Maddison                          English

Iain Fenlon                              Music, King’s

Nicholas Guyatt                        History, Trinity Hall

Clément Mouhot                        Mathematics, King’s

Kamal A Munir                        Judge Business School

Justin Pearce                        POLIS, King’s

Robin Kirkpatrick                     MML Robinson

Njoki Wamai                            POLIS

Godela Weiss-Sussex                MML

Catherine Tilley                        Engineering, Churchill

Subha Mukherji                         English, Fitzwilliam

Brad Epps                                 MML, King’s

Allan McRobie                        Engineering

Susan Daruvala                      Trinity College

John Toland                          Newton Institute

Jean Michel Massing               HoA, King’s         

Jude Browne                        Gender Studies

Jane McLarty                        Theology, Wolfson

Zenobia Ismail                         Wolfson College

Sagnik Dutta                             Politics and International Studies/Corpus Christi

Maha Rafi Atal                        Trinity Hall; Politics and International Studies

Margaret Comer                        Archaeology, Jesus

Paul Sagar                              POLIS, King’s

Hero Chalmers                       English, Fitzwilliam College

Sarah Franklin                        Sociology

Lucy McMahon                        Land Economy/Development Studies/King’s

Matt Leming                        Psychiatry/Churchill College

Helen Strudwick                        Fitzwilliam Museum

Kaitlin Ball                                Magdalene College

Sarah Dillon                        English

Collin VanBuren                        Earth Sciences, Christ’s

Paulo Savaget                        Engineering, Hughes Hall

Mike Meaney                        Education, Churchill

Jessica Fernández de Lara         CLAS, Emmanuel College

Luis O. Pérez                        CLAS

Marta Camisassa                    Faculty of Art History and Architecture (2004-5)

Dora Alexopoulou                 Linguistics, Murray Edwards

Mark Sabine                        External examiner for MML

Sarah Colvin                        MML (Jesus College)

Gabe Byng                                Clare Hall

Anita Herle                                 Social Anthropology

Martin Dixon                        Land Economy, Queens’

Christopher Burlinson                English, Jesus

Lauren Kassell                        HPS, Pembroke

Tom Hopkins                        POLIS

Adam Ledgeway                        MML

Isabelle McNeill                        MML, Trinity Hall

Amaleena Damlé                        MML

Joachim Whaley FBA              MML, Caius

Philip Connell                        English, Selwyn

Michele Gemelos                        English, St Edmund’s

Christophe Gagne                MML, Churchill

Ross Wilson                        English, Trinity

Rebecca Shepherdson           Geography, Trinity

Jean Chothia                        English, Selwyn

Cyrus Chothia                         LMB, Wolfson

Silke Mentchen                        MML, Magdalene

Leo Mellor                                English, Murray Edwards

Anastasia Christophilopoulou  Fitzwilliam Museum/ICE

Mia Gray                                Geography, Girton

Anna Barford                        Geography, Girton & Murray Edwards

Andrew Zurcher                        English, Queens’

Katie Nelson                            Law, Emmanuel

María Noriega-Sánchez                MML, Sidney

Philip Knox                                English, Trinity

Nick Jardine                        HPS, Darwin

John Regan                        CRASSH, Clare Hall

Kate Peters                                History, Murray Edwards

Jocelyn Wyburd                        Language Centre

Nicolette Zeeman                        Faculty of English

Nicki Kindersley                        History, Pembroke

Charlotte Lemanski                Geography, Robinson

Rod Mengham                         Faculty of English

Salim Al-Gailani                        HPS

Renaud Morieux                        History, Jesus

Mary Jennings                        Wolfson College

Debby Banham                        ASNaC, Newnham

Bill Adams                                     Geography

Christine Lane                        Geography

Chris Sandbrook                        Geography, Darwin

Ian Willis                                Geography, St Catharine’s

Ruth Watson                        History, Clare

Teresa Webber                        History, Trinity

Richard Powell                        Geography, Fitzwilliam

Jane Partner                        English, Trinity Hall

Juliet Mitchell                        Jesus College
Aylmer Johnson                        Engineering, Clare

Monica Moreno Figueroa        Sociology, Downing

Sara Poursafar                       Law, Newnham College

Tom Hamilton                           History, Trinity

Alexandra Walsham                History, Trinity

Ana Martins                        ML, Exeter

Joanna Page                        Centre of Latin American Studies, Robinson

David Hillman                        English, King’s

Orietta Da Rold                        English

David Clifford                        English

Laura Carter                        History, Murray Edwards

Chris Warnes                        English

Melissa Calaresu                        History, Gonville and Caius

Sujit Sivasundaram                History, Gonville and Caius

Jessica Berenbeim                English, Jesus

Carmen Olmedilla Herrero,           MML, St John’s

Leigh Denault                        History, Churchill

Jeff Miley                                Sociology, Darwin

Kiyoko Gotanda                        Zoology, Clare Hall