Gender critical university professor given panic alarm for her safety

(Photo: Pexels/Sharon McCutcheon)

A University of Reading professor who has publicly challenged the emerging narrative on gender has been given a panic alarm over concerns for her safety.

Professor Rosa Freedman was given the panic button by the university after it conducted a full security review after the human rights law lecturer was targeted for her views.   The university also installed an entry phone to her office so that she can check visitors before opening the door. 

Although she has worked in conflict zones around the world, the professor told The Telegraph that she felt the most under attack at her own university. 

"There is a sense of dread coming on to campus," she said.

"It is quite unsettling to know that even something as basic as picking up my post from my pigeon hole can leave me feeling on edge.

"It makes it quite difficult walking into a coffee shop or around campus when I know people are monitoring where I am and watching me."

Professor Freedman has argued for the protection of single sex spaces and challenged government plans to change the law to allow gender self-identification

She says that as a result of speaking publicly about her views, she has received death threats and rape threats, and been followed on campus.  She also arrived at her office one day to find that urine had been poured over her door. 

Sussex University analytic philosophy professor Kathleen Stock told the newspaper that she had encountered a similar experience and been the object of a no-platforming campaign. 

She said that there was a "shameful silence" among fellow philosophers and that many were "frightened to speak out". 

Professor Alice Sullivan, a sociologist at University College London, criticised a lack of support from student unions after a motion she put forward at the last University and College Union conference calling for the protection of academic freedom failed to pass. 

"People get so angry when you state basic biological facts," she said.

"If you acknowledge that biological sex is real, you are called a bigot and a fascist. That is completely mad. It is very difficult to understand why it has all become so extreme."

Professor Michael Biggs, a sociologist at Oxford University, told the newspaper that "almost all" of the academics specialising in gender that he works with have faced disciplinary hearings because of student allegations. 

He said that some academics chose to stay silent because they were too afraid of jeopardising their careers if they spoke honestly about their views on gender identity.  

"For the most part they are cleared but the process is the punishment. Of course it is very stressful, you have to spend a lot of time preparing a defence," he said.

"What's Orwellian about it is that you have to keep quiet. Once you are the subject of a complaint you are not allowed to talk about it. The point is that there is a lot of harassment that is not seen and a lot of that will make academics scared, they will say 'I do not want to get involved, I will stay silent'.

"Because I am tenured and Oxford is a much more protected university, I feel I have to take the lead on this. Others are much more vulnerable and it may well be that they cannot get another job if they are accused on transphobia."

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