Mustelids in journalism

The Guardian has a weaselly piece on the Sussex snafu.

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy professor targeted by activists for her views on gender identification, has said she fears her career at Sussex University has been “effectively ended” by a union’s call for an investigation into transphobia.

No, she hasn’t, that’s not what she said. If you can’t even get the lede right, take a sick day so that someone else can do it. The “she fears” part is sheer invention.

Sussex’s chapter of the University and College Union (UCU) has urged the university’s management to “take a clear and strong stance against transphobia at Sussex”, and undertake an investigation into “institutional transphobia”.

Yes but it said a lot more than that, and that particular summary makes the Sussex UCU statement sound much more reasonable and even-handed than it is.

However, the university said it would not agree to the union’s call for an investigation.

A University of Sussex spokesperson said: “We have acted – and will continue to act – firmly and promptly to tackle bullying and harassment, to defend the fundamental principle of academic freedom, to support our community and continue to progress our work on equality, diversity and inclusion. We care deeply about getting this balance right.”

The bullying and harassment were done to Stock, not by her. The Guardian probably knows this, but didn’t spell it out in the article. This is why I call it weaselly.

After last week’s protest, Adam Tickell, Sussex’s vice-chancellor, gave public support to Stock, saying: “We cannot and will not tolerate threats to cherished academic freedoms and will take any action necessary to protect the rights of our community.”

But the Sussex UCU statement, signed by the branch’s executive, said the university’s leaders had failed to “uphold the institution’s stated values by ensuring that the dignity and respect of trans and non-binary staff and students, and their allies, are enshrined at the core of the university’s culture”.

The Guardian doesn’t pause to ask why the dignity and respect of trans and non-binary staff and students and their allies should be enshrined at the core of the university’s culture. It doesn’t pause to ask why trans people should be treated as the most urgent social and political issue of the time, and the most deserving of exaggerated respect and coddling and worship.

It added: “We do not endorse the call for any worker to be summarily sacked and we oppose all forms of bullying, harassment, and intimidation of staff and students.”

Says the Guardian, as if that were a generous concession. The Guardian can’t be so stupid that it doesn’t spot the obvious trap. It would spot it in a heartbeat if it were Boris Johnson saying it about someone else. The UCU doesn’t endorse summary firing but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t endorse non-summary firing. That one word “summarily” is their escape clause. The Guardian has to know that perfectly well. Fucking weasels.

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