Recent coverage in Varsity accuses the SU of refusing to speak to them at the demonstration against Helen Joyce’s talk in Cambridge earlier this week, going so far as to describe sabbs as “running away”. The priority of the sabbatical officers and the LGBT+ Campaign representatives was to remain focused on safeguarding the welfare of students during the protest. Being pressured to abandon this responsibility in order to speak to journalists was inappropriate and inconsiderate.
The SU has specific representatives for LGBT+ students who we have repeatedly asked Varsity to speak to about this and who they have repeatedly refused to adequately platform. The President of the SU LGBT+ Campaign was separately quoted in the article, cited as only ‘an SU rep’ after three preceding paragraphs detailed how the SU was evading comment. Varsity also misgendered the Campaign President, and disregarded requests from students not to be photographed, putting them at further risk when those photos were published.
Last night we were offered a time frame of 1 hour and 9 minutes (after the end of the working day) to respond to the news that another virulent transphobe, Kathleen Stock, will be speaking in Cambridge, a request again addressed to the sabbatical officer team rather than to the elected representatives of trans students. This is all part of a recent trend of Varsity courting transphobes and their allies in the national media with inaccurate, sensationalist and harmful reporting. Concurrently ignoring and belittling the LGBT+ Campaign, misgendering students and using their photographs without permission, this kind of journalism is doing real harm.
Trans people in this country are under attack and the LGBT+ Campaign has experienced an uptick in students reporting transphobic harassment to them since the event. In light of this Varsity’s actions are disappointing, irresponsible and ultimately dangerous. Care for trans students should be paramount right now, and we will continue to work with the LGBT+ Campaign to make this university safe for all its students.
If you are a trans student affected by this week’s events, support is available.
Student Advice Service - www.cambridgesu.co.uk/support/advice
University Counselling Service - www.counselling.cam.ac.uk
SU LGBT+ Campaign - www.cambridgesu.co.uk/organisation/6099/
LGBT+ Switchboard Helpline - https://www.switchboard.org.uk/what-we-do/helpline/
Samaritans - https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/