Caius was in hot water after fellows voted against flying the pride flag last year Rosie Bradbury

The master and senior tutor of Gonville & Caius College have said they will boycott a controversial talk by gender critical feminist, Helen Joyce.

Writing to students yesterday (19/10) in a personal capacity, Pippa Rogerson and Andrew Spencer, explained that while they wholeheartedly support the principle of freedom of expression, they believe that Joyce’s views on transgender people are “offensive, insulting, and hateful to members of our community.”

They said they wouldn’t be attending the event. “We have worked hard and we will continue to strive to make Caius an inclusive, diverse and welcoming home for our students, staff and Fellows. We feel events such as this do not contribute to this aim.

“Caius should be a place for the highest quality of research to be produced and discussed, rather than polemics”, they added.

The event, “criticising gender-identity ideology: what happens when speech is silenced” will still go ahead on 25th October.

It is being hosted at the College by Caius fellow Arif Ahmed, and will involve Joyce, a former Britain editor at The Economist, being interviewed about her views on the trans debate — and the reaction they have prompted — by Partha Dasgupta, an economist at St John’s College.


Mountain View

Students condemn decision to host gender critical feminist

In a previous statement to Varsity, Caius said: “[The talk] is not a College event. We support free speech and would encourage those within the College community and wider society to challenge views they find reprehensible through debate and to celebrate our diversity.”

Ahmed however defended the talk, telling Varsity: “These are matters of great public interest on which it is very important that there is free and open debate.”

Several student groups have expressed anger over the upcoming talk. The Students’ Union condemned the event, as have LGBT reps at several colleges. The SU wrote that having Joyce speak would “contribute to the further alienation of trans students, to whom the University has a duty of care.”

Joyce is currently on leave from The Economist while she works as director of advocacy at Sex Matters, a not-for-profit company which describes itself as working “to re-establish that sex matters in rules, laws, policies, language and culture”.

She has previously written a book about the trans debate, called Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, in which she criticises a number of ideas put forward by trans rights activists. While the book received some favourable reviews, it was also criticised in the left-leaning press, as well as by LGBT activists.

That criticism has followed Joyce since, with a conference hosted by Great Ormond Street Hospital, where she was due to speak, being cancelled at short notice due to her views earlier this year.