Huddersfield university has been forced to apologise and pay compensation to a PhD student after they subjected him to a lengthy disciplinary investigation over “transphobic” tweets.
The University investigated Jonny Best for six months after a fellow student made an anonymous complaint about things he had written online.
Best, a gay man and previously director of the “Queer up North” music festival had written of his experience of transgender activism, and questioned the new definition of transphobia:
Firstly, Stonewall’s version of transphobia didn’t seem to require any negative view of trans people, let alone hate or unfair discrimination. All that was necessary to be designated a bigot by the UK’s leading LGBT charity was to question whether trans women and natal women might, in some ways, be different. Secondly, Stonewall’s edict unquestioningly prioritised the wishes of trans women over those of natal women. This seemed both arbitrary and unfair to me.
He had also tweeted, including about “misgendering” and pronouns:
A fellow student reported 13 tweets and Mr Best’s published essays to the university. He was initially found to have breached the university’s social media and trans equality policies that protect against a “humiliating or offensive environment”.
Mr Best successfully appealed, then went to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education
The ombudsman found multiple procedural failings with the investigation. The university is required to apologise for the decision, lack of due process, procedural delays and errors and for the distress and inconvenience.
Talking to The Telegraph today Mr Best highlighted the “chilling effect on free speech.
On twitter he has said he is broadly happy with the outcome, but said;
I’m an adult PhD student and I was happy to have this fight with the university. But younger students must have fair, well-run internal complaint/disciplinary procedures and shouldn’t be put at risk by the sort of mismanagement evident at University of Huddersfield.
Jonny is just one of many academics targeted with complaints because of questioning transgender orthodoxy.