University`s apology to professor over trans-rights cancellation

By Teo Coroiu

The Vice Chancellor apologised to students and to Professor Jo Phoenix whose seminar was cancelled after people considered her a “transphobe”. 

In December 2019, Prof Jo Phoenix was talking at the University of Essex about “trans rights, imprisonment, and the criminal justice system.”  

The seminar was cancelled by the university due to security concerns.  

After an investigation about this, it was found that the cancellation “amounted to a breach of Prof Phoenix’s right to freedom of expression.”  

review on this was posted on Essex Blogs by Professor Anthony Forster after the Vice Chancellor sent an email to apologise to students followed by an explanation about the events.  

The review specified: “On the day of the seminar, complaints were made that Prof Phoenix was a ‘transphobe’ who was likely to engage in ‘hate speech’. 

“There was a credible threat that students planned to barricade the room, and a flyer was circulating which bore a violent image and [an obscenity].  

“There were reports that people felt unsafe and threatened by the prospect of her appearing on campus.”  

After the cancellation of the seminar, it was said that it will be rearranged, but later they decided not to invite Prof Phoenix back.    

The Vice Chancellor’s email said: “On behalf of the University, I have made open apologies to Professor Phoenix and Professor Freedman, the speakers involved.  

“I have written a blog which considers some of the difficult issues raised by it.”