The University of Sussex has sparked a backlash after stating that transgender people can only be “positively represented” in courses.
The university has introduced a clause in its equality policy which says that “any materials within relevant courses and modules will positively represent trans people”.
Academics have called the policy “repressive” and “Orwellian”.
Kathleen Stock, Professor of Philosophy at the University argues that academics need to be free to discuss concerns over men who identify as women having access to women’s prisons, hostels and rape crisis centres.
She said: “Universities should have policies that protect employees and students from discrimination”.
“But policies which say you must always ‘positively represent’ a group of people clearly overstep the boundary. These are not fit for purpose in allowing academics to explore issues responsibly.”
She added: “These sorts of attempts to control academic thought are repressive and illiberal, and they have a chilling effect.”
Professor Michael Biggs, from the University of Oxford, called such ‘positive representation’ clauses “outrageous”.
“This is really Orwellian. Universities shouldn’t be imposing transgenderism any more than they impose radical feminism”, he added.
A university spokesperson denied the clause was intended to shut down debate and said: “Allowing opposing views to be heard will always be encouraged at the University of Sussex”.
In 2017, the University of Sussex made it compulsory for guest speakers to submit their speeches in advance for vetting, in case it violated their ‘safe spaces’ policy.
In recent months, speakers including Peter Hitchens and Jordan Peterson have been no-platformed by some of the UKs leading universities.
Last year, the University of Bristol began officially banning speakers who challenged transgender ideology.