Retroactive policy trap

You may recall that Jonathan Best is being punished by the University of Huddersfield for violating orthodoxy on trans issues. He tweets today:

News on the Uni of Huddersfield disciplinary case against me: my appeal against the warning given to me by the Dean has been allowed and I now proceed to a full, disciplinary hearing on November 15th. These are the allegations the university brings against me, and which I refute:


That third item made me sit up and take (extra) notice. Breach of the Trans Equality Policy? What is the Trans Equality Policy? What special kind of equality is there that applies to trans people and not others? So I went looking for it, and found it. The odd thing is, though, it’s dated this past September and October…so they’re accusing Best of breaching something that didn’t exist when he is supposed to have breached it. They appear to have written a new policy for the very purpose of accusing Best of breaching it before it was written.

Trans Equality Policy Statement [pdf]:

1. The University of Huddersfield is committed to removing any form of unlawful
discrimination against people on the grounds of their gender identity or gender
expression. Where this policy refers to ‘trans people’, it has in mind a broad range of
people whose gender identity may not be expressed in ways that are typically
associated with their assigned sex at birth. This includes those who have non-binary,
agender or gender-fluid identities.

But unlawful discrimination against people on other grounds is ok? No. So what’s the point of specifying the grounds? Besides attempting to justify punishing Jonathan Best with a retroactive rule? Unlawful discrimination is unlawful.

2 and 3 are about valuing diversity and respect and no harassment. Then it gets more specific.

The University undertakes the following:
• Students will not be denied access to courses, progression to other courses, or fair
and equal treatment while on courses because of their gender identity or because
they propose to or have transitioned.
• Employees will not be excluded from employment or promotion or redeployment
opportunities because of their gender identity.
• Requests to change name and gender on records will be handled promptly and
employees and students will be made aware of any implications of the changes.
• The University will respect the confidentiality of all trans employees and students’
identities and will not reveal information relating to their trans status without the
prior agreement of the individual.

So apparently they’re saying that as far as they’re concerned students and employees can change sex instantly and on request, with no questions asked, and that students will be made aware of any implications of the changes while at the same time the whole thing is kept confidential. So that’s confusing.

Then we get to the bit they apparently wrote specifically to justify their bullying of Jonathan Best:

Transphobic abuse, harassment or bullying (name-calling/derogatory jokes,
unacceptable or unwanted behaviour, intrusive questions etc.) will not be tolerated
and will be dealt with under the appropriate procedure,

Nice “etc.” there – what do you bet it will turn out to cover whatever they need it to cover in order to justify their bullying of Jonathan Best. What do you bet it will turn out to cover any kind of skepticism about “gender identity” at all. I guess it doesn’t matter what you bet because nobody will take the bet – the reality is too obvious.

Page 3 has all the dates. September and October.

Updating to add: Best replies to my questions:

Versions of these policies were in existence prior to the complaint against me. The clauses I’m accused of breaking have been made clear to me.

Ok. I remain very suspicious of this late re-write, and especially of that “etc.”

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