Entire Edinburgh University Staff LGBT Network resign over controversial speaker
The resignations protest the platforming of controversial feminist Julie Bindel
The entire Edinburgh University Staff Pride Network have resigned in protest against the university platforming controversial feminist speaker Julie Bindel.
Bindel was the keynote speaker at a panel event hosted by the university on Wednesday titled 'Women's Sex-Based Rights: what does and should the future hold?'
The Staff Pride Network called for Wednesday's event to be cancelled, however the university informed the network that the event would nonetheless go ahead.
In response, the Staff Pride Network launched a petition calling for the event to be cancelled. They argued for cancellation on the basis that the event would put trans people at risk of physical and psychological harm.
Edinburgh University is happy to brandish the successes of the Staff Pride Network as their own, but silences them when they try to speak out about transphobia on campus. 👏 https://t.co/0Y5tMQr4f7
— Hannah (@hannadryad) June 6, 2019
Bindel has been called a 'radical feminist' who has written in opposition to the civil rights of transgender people.
She opposes gender reassignment surgery, as well as the concept of gender identity disorder, advocating that both reinforce the oppression of women.
In 2004, Bindel stated: "I don't have a problem with men disposing of their genitals, but it does not make them women, in the same way that showing a bit of vacuum hose down your 501s does not make you a man."
Johnathan MacBride, who was chair of the Staff Pride Network prior to the committee's resignation, expressed disappointment that the university had not consulted the network before approving the event. He stated that instead of supporting the Network and their position, the university chose to censor them.
MacBride also claimed that the university failed to give any statement of support to its trans staff and students.
Following the event, Bindel posted a tweet claiming she was attacked by an activist on the way to Edinburgh Airport. The attacker allegedly lunged at her and had to be restrained by security guards.
Bindel blamed the attack on Edinburgh University staff efforts to 'no-platform' her, tweeting: "The lecturers and staff who stoked the flames of this by calling women bigots and fascists and Nazis because we were holding an event to discuss women's rights should take responsibility for this."
"I took part in a really brilliant event tonight at Edinburgh University, speaking about women’s sex-based rights. I was physically attacked as I left the event FOR the airport. This kind of intimidation has to stop. The person that attacked me was a man."
— Julie Bindel (@bindelj) June 7, 2019
In response to the mass resignation, a University of Edinburgh spokesperson commented: “The university places great importance in the Staff Pride Network and its valuable job in representing the University’s LGBT + community.
"We regret, therefore, that its committee members have felt the need to step down. Senior managers from the university have offered a meeting with them to discuss their concerns.”