A professor is leaving the University of Sussex after facing calls to be fired for her views on gender identification.
Professor Kathleen Stock has been criticized for saying she believes gender identity is no more important than the facts about biological sex, “especially when it comes to laws and policies.”
She has been accused of being “transphobic” – an allegation she vigorously denies.
Announcing her departure on Twitter, she said she had had “a few very difficult years” following a campaign by an anonymous group, which was allegedly set up by students who put up posters demanding her dismissal.
An image also appeared on social media of a protester holding a banner saying “Stock Out”.
Professor Stock said: “It’s been an absolutely horrible time for me and my family. I’m leaving it behind now. I’m moving on to brighter things soon, I hope.”
In an email to all staff, Professor Adam Tickell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sussex, said the institution has been “consistent and clear that everyone in our community has the right to work and learn, free from intimidation and harassment of any kind, which was not the case for Professor Stock “.
He said the university had hoped she would feel able to return and supported her to do so.
“She has decided that recent events have meant that this will not be possible, and we respect and understand that decision,” he said.
He said it was illegal to discriminate against someone based on their gender and philosophical beliefs, adding: “A rigorous academic challenge is welcome. However, we have seen intolerance towards her as a member of our team. community because of his work.
“It is now, and always will be, in direct opposition to the most basic tenets of academia.”
Professor Stock praised the leadership of the university, saying: “I hope other institutions in similar situations can learn from this.
“I am especially happy to see the university point out that bullying and harassing anyone because of their legal beliefs is unacceptable in their workplace. “
Earlier this month, Professor Stock accused the Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) of having “effectively” ended his career after calling on the institution to take a “tough stance” against transphobia.
In a statement, the union said all trans and non-binary members “now more than ever” should receive the university’s “unequivocal support”.
The University of Sussex has previously said the institution will not tolerate threats to “academic freedom”.
In January, hundreds of academics condemned the decision to make Professor Stock an OBE for services rendered to higher education as part of the New Year honors.
They wrote an open letter criticizing academics for using their status to “reinforce gender oppression” and said they denounce “transphobia in all its forms”.