Dr Gopal's Professorship will begin on 1st OctoberSam Harrison

Content note: This article contains detailed description of racist discrimination

Priyamvada Gopal, Churchill fellow and academic in postcolonial literature in the English Faculty, has been promoted to full Professorial Chair despite a petition on change.org which called for her removal from the University.

The news comes after Gopal said that she was briefly suspended from Facebook and Twitter this morning after sharing some of the messages of the hateful abuse she has received by a campaign launched on a 4chan forum encouraging users to contact the University to call for Gopal’s removal.

Tweeting on Thursday afternoon, Gopal wrote: “Thanks to everyone who wrote to @Twitter: the ludicrous ban has been lifted. I am therefore delighted to share with you personally, that last night Cambridge promoted me to a full Professorship. The hate mails & threats are coming in non-stop but @CambridgeCops are following up”.

Gopal is one of 42 members of academic staff to be recommended for Professorship from October.

Nicolette Zeeman, Chair of the English Faculty Board, explained that Gopal’s promotion, which will come into effect from 1st October, was “decided over the course of the last six months by the University’s normal promotions procedure”.

The Faculty of English also released a statement earlier today saying that it “fully supports all our members in our commitment to freedom of speech. Members should be able to make lawful expression of challenging views without fear of disrespect or discrimination.”

“We abhor the racist language and threats that have been received by our colleague, Prof Priyamvada Gopal”.

This follows the University’s defence of academics’ right to freedom of expression yesterday, after the abuse Gopal received for a tweet: “I’ll say it again. White Lives Don’t Matter. As white lives.”

Gopal said that Twitter has since deleted her tweets which sparked the initial controversy, tweeting: “I would also like to make clear I stand by my tweets, now deleted by Twitter, not me. They were very clearly speaking to a structure and ideology, not about people.”

Before being suspended from Twitter, Gopal tweeted that she would be taking a two-day weekly break from Twitter, and gave examples of the abuse she had received overnight included one from a sky address which said “saw your tweet from twatter, just to keep it even I’d not let you lay your filthy hands on me as a fake Dr. of humans. I wouldn’t let you touch my dog... “.

Gopal also raised concerns about users of the forum sharing satellite images to mistakenly claim her address.

Cambridgeshire police have been alerted to the matter and are reportedly patrolling the area around the address.


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A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Police told Varsity that “after receiving multiple complaints” in relation to the content of “a Twitter post that has been shared a large number of times in recent days,” officers had “concluded no offence has been committed.”

Meanwhile, the Police are reviewing “several reports of malicious communications targeting the author of the Tweet”.

Gopal thanked members of the English Faculty for their support as the online abuse continued and suggested that Verso Press was vital in ensuring the criteria for her promotion.

Academics elsewhere in the University, including a detailed Twitter thread from Cambridge historian Nicholas Guyatt, as well as celebrities, have expressed support for Gopal online.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the following information and support is available:

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