The Oxford Union will offer “welfare resources” to students attending a talk by feminist Kathleen Stock which is expected to cover “sensitive” topics.
Professor Stock, who quit her job as a lecturer at the University of Sussex after being targeted by activists over her views on gender identity, is due to speak at the 200-year-old debating society later this month.
Her planned appearance at the Oxford Union has sparked anger among some student groups who have called for her invitation to be rescinded – and a protest is due to be held outside the society’s building on the day of the talk.
The Oxford Union, which describes itself as the “last bastion of free speech”, said students will be able to “challenge” Prof Stock at the event on May 30.
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.”
The society added: “Given the sensitive nature of the themes discussed at this event, there will also be additional welfare resources available on the evening.
“Moreover, it will be possible for members to ask questions anonymously, through a link that will be circulated prior to the day of the event.”
Important!!! We are urging everyone to join our events and demonstration outside the Oxford Union, to show support for the trans community and to remind those who would deny the existence and joyful, life-filled, humanity of trans people that love is always stronger than hate. pic.twitter.com/SwFaEt73iZ
— Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society (@OULGBTQ) May 7, 2023
In 2021, Prof Stock announced she would be leaving her job as a professor of philosophy at the University of Sussex after “a very difficult few years”.
The academic had faced calls to be sacked amid accusations of transphobia.
In a statement last month, the Oxford University LGBTQ+ society called for Prof Stock’s invitation to speak to be rescinded as it claimed she was “transphobic and trans-exclusionary”.
It also accused Oxford Union of “disregarding” the welfare of the society’s members under the guise of free speech.
Prof Stock said on Twitter that the society’s statement contained “several falsehoods”, was “probably defamatory” and made it look “utterly ridiculous”.
A coalition of Oxford organisations and activists will hold a Trans+ Pride event in the city centre on May 30, which will include a rally and march which will culminate outside the Oxford Union where Prof Stock is due to speak.