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Students offered 'welfare' pack for gender critical talk

Freedom of Speech
12 May 2023
Shutterstock 1544307164 min

A growing row over Oxford Union's, a free speech supporting society at the University of Oxford, decision to invite gender-critical feminist Kathleen Stock to speak deepened last night.

The student union at the university has reportedly cut fiscal ties and banned Oxford Union from appearing at the freshers' fair, where it would normally expect to recruit a substantial number of new members.

In response, the union has doubled down on its commitment to free speech, while also offering 'welfare resources' to students attending a talk by gender-critical author and speaker, Kathleen Stock.

Professor Stock quit her job as lecturer at the University of Sussex after being targeted over her views on transgender rights.

She is due to speak at the Oxford Union and her invitation has sparked anger among student groups with some calling for her invitation to be rescinded.

Ms Stock has spoken publicly about her concerns that women's rights are being eroded by a push for trans rights.

In a statement on Facebook, the Oxford Union said:

This format is designed to uphold the Union's founding principle of freedom of expression for both our members and our guest speakers. Attendees can use this opportunity to respectfully engage with and challenge Professor Stock's views."
Oxford Union Facebook Statement

As a result of the invitation, the University of Oxford's student union has allegedly cut fiscal ties with the Oxford Union and banned it from its freshers' fair.

All this comes as the UK government's Higher Education Freedom of Speech Bill finished its journey through the House of Lords and received Royal Assent on 11 May 2023.

It means the legislation should soon become law and will see a free speech champion appointed by the government, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reportedly planning to ask Cambridge professor Arif Ahmed to do the role.

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