The Head of King’s War Studies department has apologised for ‘stupid’ sexist students

‘It is most disappointing that a small minority of male students are engaging in such idiocy’


The Head of King’s War Studies department has apologised after a student writing in The Tab complained about sexist behaviour from her classmates.

Professor Theo Farrell labelled the minority of students acting in a sexist manner as “just – plain – stupid. Period”.

In a comment on the original Tab article he said: “I am very grateful to Olivia for raising this important issue. It is most disappointing that a small minority of male students are engaging in such idiocy. I am confident that most students, male and female, will agree that sexist comments and behaviour are simply not acceptable and more to the point are Just – Plain – Stupid. Period.

“The Dept of War Studies has a zero-tolerance policy towards all forms of discrimination. We will be working with our student body to stamp out sexist attitudes and behaviour in War Studies.”

Professor Farrell has also sent an email out to all students and staff on the course this morning. This has been reproduced below.

Professor Farrell

Professor Farrell has condemned the sexist remarks and behaviour of some of the male War Studies students

Dear Students,

Last year it came to my attention that ​a small number of male undergraduate​ students had been making sexist comments concerning women in war studies. I wrote: “Frankly, I find it staggering that this has happened in this day and age.” Somebody sent me this article in today’s The Tab, and two other students have come forward with similar sto​​r​i​​​es. I am deeply disappointed to discover that this problem persists.

Even the US military and British Army have finally tackled gender inequality in military service by extending the right of women to serve in combat roles. ​There is a serious debate to be had about this issue but just today the US Secretary of Defence has provided powerful reasoning HERE for why all military roles should be open to women. And for ​compelling academic analysis supporting this position, I recommend Joshua Goldstein, War and Gender (Cambridge UP, 2001).

​Regardless, ill-considered sexist views have no place in the military of the future. And such views are utterly at odds with the ethos of every educational institution today. I am left wondering how is it some war studies students are so behind the times?

​So l​et me make the department position crystal clear on this issue:

* Consistent with College policy, the War Studies Department has zero-tolerance for any forms of discrimination, be it on grounds of ​disability, ​ethnicity, religion, sexuality, and/or gender.

* Discriminatory comments will not be tolerated in class or on College premises: any student making such comments will be asked to leave.

* Discriminatory comments directed towards an individual or specific groups of individuals constitutes harassment under College policy. We will take the most robust action possible against any student found to have made such comments.

As you know we have recently undertake​n​ a survey of all students and staff concerning department culture focusing in particular on the issue of gender equality. ​​We are now analysing the data and will circulate the findings to all students. We will be consulting with the student body concerning appropriate remedial actions. Meantime, I encourage everyone to ‘air and share’ their experiences​ concerning sexism in the department​ – we should talk openly about this issue and collectively state how completely unacceptable and plain idiotic are such comments and attitudes.

Best wishes,

Theo Farrell

Professor Theo Farrell

Professor of War in the Modern World

Head of Department of War Studies

King’s College London