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Update from James Caspian on his case against Bath Spa University to be allowed to research detransitioners

(82 Posts)
Betti935 Wed 03-Jan-18 23:25:11

Dear Supporters,

As you may have seen from my page update, the university has concluded its complaints procedure and is sticking to its guns, saying that the only mistake it has made is to have passed my initial research proposal in the first place. (If you remember, it did this before rejecting my amended proposal). The defence given is that the ethics committee's decision was an academic decision, which one may not challenge. I and my lawyers maintain that, as the definition of an academic decision is that it is one that can only be made by an academic, that it did not require an academic to make a decision based on fear of criticism on social media, and therefore the decision to reject my research proposal was not an academic decision at all. The university has also said that it is for a court to decide what is an academic decision.

This means that I now need to raise in the region of £40,000, or preferably more, to take the university to court for a Judicial Review. The deadline for applying for JudiciaI Review is 8th March 2018, that is, three months after the university concluded the complaints procedure. I need to have enough money to cover the possibility of losing, otherwise I cannot risk going ahead. I believe that it is more important than ever that we take this chance of having a legal precedent set that will prevent universities from stopping research on spurious grounds. This is because, since I started this campaign, I have discovered that it is an endemic problem in universities. See here for my interview and other academics' experiences on this subject in a recent edition of the Sunday Telegraph

Please can you share this link on Facebook; pledge again if you are able; email five friends asking them to pledge and publicise my case as widely as you can! This is the beginning of the big push! Let's not let the university get away with it!

I wish you all a happy and healthy new Year!
Very best wishes,

James Caspian.

BitOfFun Mon 29-Oct-18 19:44:37

I've contributed and shared the link on twitter and Facebook.

DresdenChina Mon 29-Oct-18 20:30:47

Can someone who is in touch with James ask if he has been in touch with the Public Law Project? they have some funds for Judicial reviews...

stealthsquirrelnutkin Tue 30-Oct-18 00:45:13

Just got this update via e-mail.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

First of all thank you for your invaluable support, without which it would not have been possible to pursue this case. I don't know most of you personally, but I know that you share my concern about suppression of free thought and discussion within academia about controversial subjects and in particular, although not limited to, the transgender field.

My lawyers have reactivated the application for permission to hold a Judicial Review against both the university and the Office for the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education. (After our initial application earlier this year against the Adjudicator, made because it had refused to hear my complaint, it decided then that it would look at it after all).

On 25th September 2018 the OIAHE issued its decision about my complaint against Bath Spa University, and found the complaint to be partially justified, because it said that the university had dealt with it inadequately. However, most crucially, it failed to address the central issue - that the fundamental reason the university gave for declining my research proposal was that it might attract criticism on social media which would in turn, be criticism of the university - instead saying that the research was ethically complex and that the university simply failed to explain that adequately.

The university, at the OIAHE's recommendation, offered me £2,500 compensation and some of my fees back for inconvenience and distress, in order to close down the matter. While I could have accepted this, and walked away, it would have meant colluding with the Adjudicator's opinion that the university prevented the research simply because of ethics, and its dismissal of the core issue. I am unable to do this as a matter of conscience, as I know it is not true. I believe that this case sits at the heart of the problem we are facing about free speech and academic freedom to carry out research.

The case is increasingly relevant today - see this recent letter to the Guardian signed by fifty-four academics:

I am now raising funds to continue the case and will need to raise upwards of £35,000. Please help me to achieve this by pledging, tweeting and sharing on Facebook. Here is the link

Can you send it to three friends and /or contacts please, and if you are able to, pledge again?

A big thank you to all of you.

Best wishes,


EBearhug Tue 30-Oct-18 01:08:45

Since when were masters projects 12 week things?

Mine was, slightly over 20 years ago. (How is that possible? Where's my life gone?)

qumquat Tue 30-Oct-18 06:40:17

Taught masters and research masters are very different things. A project for a dissertation on a taught masters might be 12 weeks; a research masters is a year of research.

ThisMadnessMustStop Tue 30-Oct-18 11:06:31

Done. Good luck, James.

thatdamnwoman Tue 30-Oct-18 11:30:05

EBearhug — Oxbridge?

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