Sign Statement of Solidarity with Professor Kathleen Stock
We, the undersigned academics, retired academics, students, alumni and university/college employees stand resolutely with Professor Kathleen Stock.

We are outraged at the campaign of sustained abuse to which she has been subjected for years. We unreservedly condemn the escalation of this intimidation in recent days, including the prominent display on campus of posters and stickers calling for her to be fired. We believe that this abuse is perpetrated by a small but determined group of bullies, enabled by managers who have taken no effective action to address the climate for academic freedom on campus, and exacerbated by the silence of other academics who stand by and say nothing.

The targeting of a high-profile individual such as Professor Stock does not happen in a vacuum. It is one of the symptoms of a pernicious erosion of academic freedom and freedom of expression that has happened on university campuses in recent years, especially (although not exclusively) in relation to discussions of sex and gender identity. In this context, to portray Stock’s views as “anti-trans” is misleading. The positions and arguments she has expressed in her work reflect the existing legal framework of UK equality law, where trans people are protected from discrimination by means of the protected characteristic of gender reassignment, and where the separate protected characteristic of sex is central to the defence of women’s rights and the rights of lesbians and gay men.

We welcome Vice Chancellor Adam Tickell’s statement of support for Professor Stock. We do not believe that, in itself, this statement will stop the harassment against her, or address the climate of fear which has taken hold at Sussex and other universities. What is needed is cultural change. Professor Tickell will need to listen to Professor Stock and other feminist academics and students and work with them to identify actions
which will bring about that cultural change. Such actions are likely to include an investigation into recent acts of intimidation and robust disciplinary measures against the perpetrators, restorative actions to rebuild relationships on the basis of dignity and respect for all, and curriculum interventions to ensure that students are taught how to participate in rational, evidence-based debate of difficult and emotive issues.

Professor Stock has endured abuse and intimidation that no academic should have to face, simply for doing her job. We are not prepared to stand by as silent spectators of that outrage.

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