The new General Secretary of the University and College Union has sparked controversy for refusing to hear views questioning radical transgender ideology.
Women who believe that ‘identifying’ as a woman is different to being born a woman were blocked on Twitter by union head Dr Jo Grady.
Alice Sullivan, a professor of sociology at University College London, said: “Academic freedom means nothing if it does not extend to those with whom one disagrees.”
Grady used a ‘TERF-blocker’ – a controversial social media tool which allows users to block a list of accounts.
‘TERF’, which stands for ‘Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist’, is a derogatory term referring to people who do not believe men can become women.
Professor Selina Todd, an expert in modern history at Oxford University, said that she, and many other colleagues, find it an “abusive term”.
She said that refusing to debate with people you disagree with is not a suitable approach for a representative of academics.
Professor Rosa Freedman, Chair of Law at Reading University, said using a ‘TERF-blocker’ promotes the idea that anyone who criticises transgenderism is a danger to transgender students.
She said Grady “is in a position of leadership and is supposed to defend all academics and academic freedom”.
And Kathleen Stock, Professor of Philosophy at Sussex University, said Grady’s use of the tool prevents her from hearing “voices of gender critical academics”.