Students at the University of Cambridge are demanding repercussions for a college porter and former Labour councillor who quit his position rather than supporting trans rights.
Kevin Price resigned from Cambridge City Council in a virtual address on Thursday (22 October).
In his resignation speech, he said he refused to support a Lib Dem motion which asserted that trans women are women, and said passing it would “send a chill down the spines of many women”.
The motion – which was ultimately passed with 30 in favour, four abstentions and none against – read: “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary individuals are non-binary.
“We believe in the dignity of all people and their right to respect and equality of opportunity. We value the strength that comes with difference and the positive contribution that diversity brings to our community.
“Our aspiration is for Cambridge and the wider region to be safe, welcoming and inclusive.”
But Price is also employed by the University of Cambridge’s Clare College as a porter, which means he is responsible for “overseeing college security matters” and “being a first point of contact for student welfare matters in an emergency”.
The college’s Union of Clare Students (UCS) has condemned the former councillor’s “transphobic” stance, and some students are now calling for him to step down from his University of Cambridge job to ensure the safety of trans students.
According to Varsity, UCS said in a statement that “trans people deserve to feel safe and valued within Clare and that its “priority is to protect the welfare of Clare’s trans and non-binary community, ensuring that they feel not only safe but also empowered by the college they attend”.
The union said Price had shown “a brazen contempt for the rights and dignity of trans and non-binary people”, and reassured students that “the UCS and MCR [the body which represents postgraduate students] are currently in communication with the college on how best to resolve this situation while centring trans and non-binary students”.
One Clare College student and former SU women’s campaign trans rep, Victoria Longstaff, said that Price was “unfit both to hold public office and to be in a position of responsibility over students”, and that he posed a “potential risk” to trans students.
She added that she “must support either his resignation or his suspension from his duties at the college”.
UCS LGBT+ officer and trans, non-binary and pansexual rep Frankie Kendal told PinkNews: “In his current role, Price acts as a first port-of-call for most aspects of college life, from collecting your post to accessing medical or welfare attention.
“Porters are in a place of care and pastoral duty within Clare, yet Price’s transphobic and hateful comments… completely undermine his ability to provide welfare to trans and non-binary students.
“Students no longer feel safe in not only their College, but their homes, while Price remains in his normal duties.”
In future, Kendal said, Clare College and the University of Cambridge as a whole “have a responsibility to prioritise the inclusion of its trans, and other marginalised communities, in all they do”.
“Policies on respect, dignity and discrimination should be in force to protect trans, and all LGBT+ students, so that disciplinary action can be sought if needed,” they said.
“We have a vibrant LGBT+ community that has come together to support its trans members in such a beautiful way and the university should ensure they are safe and supported in all they do.”
UCS is currently in discussions with Clare College’s head porter and senior tutor, who have been approached by PinkNews for comment.