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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Almut Gadow v Open University (again)

239 replies

Signalbox · 18/08/2023 11:20

Obviously I can't link to the crowdfund but this is the text and google is your friend :)

My name is Almut Gadow. For almost 10 years, I taught law at the Open University. I was dismissed for questioning new requirements to indoctrinate students in gender identity theory, in ways which, I felt, distorted equality law and normalised child sexual exploitation.
I am bringing an employment tribunal claim arguing that I was harassed, discriminated against, and unfairly dismissed because I reject gender ideology and believe in academic freedom, and that this breached human rights protections for academic free expression.
Who am I? 
I grew up in a family of thought criminals. My grandfather was an undergraduate when the Nazis cleansed academia of wrongthinkers and their ideas. Rather than continue at an ideologically compliant university, he completed his studies at an illicit underground institution. He was then repeatedly tried for speech crimes and eventually sentenced to death by hanging ‘for destructive behaviour through statements in sermons and in dealing with [Nazi] party material’. 
I see free speech as a distinguishing feature between democracy and totalitarianism, not a battleground between left and right. My family has seen both German dictatorships, the fascist and the socialist, right and left, suppress speech and purge academia of dissent and dissenters. I hope my daughter can one day go to a university that does not eliminate wrongthink(ers). 
My story
In 2021/22 the Open University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion department announced plans to incorporate its political ideologies into ‘all current curriculum’. The law degree on which I taught was redesigned around a ‘core theme’ of ‘liberating the curriculum’, reflecting these ideologies. 
Criminal law tutors were told that, to ‘liberate the curriculum’, our classes now had to introduce diverse gender identities and teach students to use offenders’ preferred pronouns. I questioned if incorporating gender identity theory might be an unnecessary distraction or even unwise. I described gender theory as hotly contested, and as recently developed in wealthy Western countries. I pointed out that (not) believing in gender identity is a protected religious or philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010, and said law tutorials are no place to promote one's beliefs.
I also highlighted some of the implications of describing offenders according to self-identified gender in our work. I said a criminal lawyer’s role is to present facts, that sex is a relevant fact for offences involving perpetrators’ and/or victims’ bodies, and that no offender should be allowed to dictate the language of his case in a way which masks relevant facts. I said an assailant’s language about himself and his offence should not automatically be adopted over his victim’s, and that lawyers and courts sometimes need to describe offenders in terms with which the latter might not agree – calling the innocent-identifying perpetrator ‘guilty’, or the trans-identifying male ‘he’.
When I raised these questions, in an online forum for law tutors to discuss what they teach, management had no answers. Months later, they were cited as reasons for my dismissal. Managers spuriously alleged that my ‘unreasonable questions’ had created an environment which ‘isn’t inclusive, trans-friendly or respectful’, thus violating the transgender staff policy and codes of conduct. In fact, I had broken no lawful rule by probing the academic soundness of what I was expected to teach. 
I further incurred the wrath of the curriculum liberators when I asked them to define their key concepts such as ‘LGBTQ+’. It had become apparent to me that some treated ‘minor attraction’ (i.e. paedophilia) as part of the ‘diverse sexualities and gender identities’ Open University law teaching now seeks to ‘centre’. The criminal law module culminated in an assignment in which students had to discuss a relationship between an adult and a minor. Students would gain marks by describing child and adult as each other’s ‘boyfriends’, but lose marks if they considered whether the adult was grooming the child or committing a sexual offence.
My request for clarification was spuriously described as further misconduct. Curriculum liberators complained that it had made them feel undermined, harassed, bullied and reputationally damaged. In fact, asking colleagues to explain core concepts of their output is just part of everyday academic work, but curriculum liberators were unable to do so here.
My legal case 
Assisted at no cost by the Free Speech Union, I am launching a legal claim in the Employment Tribunal. I am arguing that I have been unfairly dismissed, harassed, and discriminated against because I reject gender ideology and believe in academic freedom. My case raises complex points of human rights, academic freedom, free expression and equality law.
‘Academic free expression’ is at the heart of my tribunal case. This concept, set out in a string of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, encapsulates how article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects academic freedom – not least by prohibiting universities from penalising academics for questioning our institutions or curricula. UK courts have yet to properly consider ECtHR case law on academic free expression. In seeking judicial guidance on this from an English employment tribunal, my case can hopefully entrench these protections in domestic law.
I will also argue that valuing academic freedom is, in itself, a protected belief under the Equality Act. Establishing this in law could protect many other academics whose careers are threatened by the rising tide of intolerance on UK campuses.
Why I need your help 
I am crowdfunding to support my employment tribunal claim against the Open University. Akua Reindorf KC, whose name has become almost synonymous with her ground-breaking work on the academic freedom of gender critical academics, will represent me in the tribunal. However, a legal challenge of this type requires an enormous amount of work, which needs to be funded.
The likely total cost of funding this claim up to trial will be around £250,000. Rather than raise the full amount now, I will ‘stretch’ the target as the claim proceeds. This will allow me to provide accurate cost estimates, and will avoid raising more money than I need in order to fund the claim.
Although litigation can be unpredictable, I plan to raise funds at three milestones:

  • Milestone one: £70,000 to cover the cost of the preliminary hearing, disclosure of documents and preparation of a trial bundle.
  • Milestone two: £90,000 covering the drafting of witness statements, potential applications to the Tribunal and for contingency costs in the run-up to trial.
  • Milestone three: £90,000 for the cost of trial including preparation.

All figures include VAT and estimated counsel’s fees. Once the initial target is met, funds raised will be transferred to the Free Speech Union which will hold the money in trust for the payment of fees as they arise. Any unused funds will be returned to CrowdJustice in accordance with its terms. I will update this page throughout to inform you of the progress of my case.
If you can, please consider donating, or sharing this page. 
OP posts:
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BlueMoe · 18/08/2023 11:28

Unbelievable that you have been persecuted in this way.

we should undermine enablers of Paedophilia. Hopefully there will be a Ben Cooper style deconstruction.

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Signalbox · 18/08/2023 11:31

BlueMoe · 18/08/2023 11:28

Unbelievable that you have been persecuted in this way.

we should undermine enablers of Paedophilia. Hopefully there will be a Ben Cooper style deconstruction.

Just to make clear this isn't me :)

OP posts:
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Ramblingnamechanger · 18/08/2023 12:17

It boggles the mind that in legal training / education that this is tolerated, although we know in other fields this has also happened. With a family history that has see the very worst , this does expose the reality of wrongspeak on individuals. Thank you for posting here, perhaps you could give us a clue about the fundraising site…but you re not allowed to link here

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RealityFan · 18/08/2023 12:23

My question is...how many people like the OP have to go to court, and win, before there is a systemic sea change?

Because this person isn't the first, and seemingly won't be the last.

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RealityFan · 18/08/2023 12:29

I've been contemplating for a long time doing something like an MA at Cambridge Uni.

A decade ago, I wouldn't have hesitated. Today? Why would I want to come up against such intellectual pygmies, happy to take my cash, but not my free thought?

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RealityFan · 18/08/2023 12:30

MA in Philosophy.

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Imnobody4 · 18/08/2023 12:45
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Whatsnewpussyhat · 18/08/2023 12:57

The criminal law module culminated in an assignment in which students had to discuss a relationship between an adult and a minor. Students would gain marks by describing child and adult as each other’s ‘boyfriends’, but lose marks if they considered whether the adult was grooming the child or committing a sexual offence

They're not even attempting to hide their actual agenda are they.
Conditioning future law makers/lawyers etc into excusing paedophilia and grooming.

Curriculum liberators complained that it had made them feel undermined, harassed, bullied and reputationally damaged

Of course they did. We must not question the gender cult or those pushing it.

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MrsOvertonsWindow · 18/08/2023 13:11

This is unbelievable - and this section:
"a criminal law module culminated in an assignment in which students had to discuss a relationship between an adult and a minor. Students would gain marks by describing child and adult as each other’s ‘boyfriends’, but lose marks if they considered whether the adult was grooming the child or committing a sexual offence".

That's the OU! I can't recall which university was outed as employing the individual concerned in the Mermaid's paedophile scandal but that was another case that exposed a university's lack of awareness of safeguarding children.

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RealityFan · 18/08/2023 13:35

A friend of mine who worked for the NHS back in the late 90s/early 00s went on an ethics training day.

He was given three scenarios involving a poor African immigrant family, single mum, 8 and 9 years old siblings.

1...Mum is bedridden, there are three "at risk" situations, the attendees had to pick the one scenario that obliged authorities being alerted re children at risk.

2...One kid cooks for the family, hot stove, electricals, food poisoning risks.

3...One kid takes the other to school along a very busy dual carriageway, and has to cross it.

The mum gets the children to sleep, pacifying them in the most personal way possible, involving all of them in the same bed together. I don't think I should go into the disgusting details.

My friend stuck his hand up and said all three situations required child services to be called in, but child sexual abuse was the biggest red flag.

He was told he was INCORRECT, only the traffic risk scenario option necessitated intervention.

Indeed when he pressed the issue on sexual misconduct, he was told he was WRONG to immediately judge, that there are many cultural practices we might find unacceptable, but we need to hold off on judgement because they're common practices in the home countries and cultures.

And as he argued more and more, he was told he was in danger of failing the course.

Imho, this is the precursor to where we are today. Political correctness, stretched out and turbo charged by intersectional class analysis, to be used as a weapon against any traditional mores.

So, two decades ago, it's OK to not report family sex abuse for cultural sensitivity reasons...two decades later ie today, it's OK to oblige victims of rape etc to address their assaulters in terms that defy logic and are guaranteed to cause maximum distress and humiliation, to protect trans as an ID.

We have totally lost it as a society.

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DrBlackbird · 18/08/2023 15:30

An EDI officer has just been employed in my workplace. I am utterly dreading what’s coming.

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RealityFan · 18/08/2023 15:34

DrBlackbird · 18/08/2023 15:30

An EDI officer has just been employed in my workplace. I am utterly dreading what’s coming.

I'm sure they'll start with a "how do you feel you're making your colleagues feel welcome, and what could you be doing more?"

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Rheia1983 · 19/08/2023 04:32

Off to do some gardening. That an institute teaching law has fallen so far down the hole of gender bullshit is egregious. You'd think that it would be full of rational and critical thinkers.

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Igneococcus · 19/08/2023 06:21

"a criminal law module culminated in an assignment in which students had to discuss a relationship between an adult and a minor. Students would gain marks by describing child and adult as each other’s ‘boyfriends’, but lose marks if they considered whether the adult was grooming the child or committing a sexual offence".

I find this interesting (and infuriating). My daughter, 19 in three weeks and about to start 2nd year at university, and her friends have a thing about age-appropriate relationships and about power inbalances in relationships. She would be utterly appalled by this (she reads in this forum occassionally, she might come across this thread). I would really like to know what the OU students think about this although I assume OU students are probably older on average than the ones at other universities, but both my children (ds is 15) would be outraged by this.

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Igneococcus · 19/08/2023 06:28

Almut, falls Du hier mitliest: Viel Glück und alles Gute.

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ChokkaQuokka · 19/08/2023 07:29

MrsOvertonsWindow · 18/08/2023 13:11

This is unbelievable - and this section:
"a criminal law module culminated in an assignment in which students had to discuss a relationship between an adult and a minor. Students would gain marks by describing child and adult as each other’s ‘boyfriends’, but lose marks if they considered whether the adult was grooming the child or committing a sexual offence".

That's the OU! I can't recall which university was outed as employing the individual concerned in the Mermaid's paedophile scandal but that was another case that exposed a university's lack of awareness of safeguarding children.

That was the London School of Economics

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-63137873.amp

Sign reading 'London School of Economics and Political Science'

Mermaids trustee quits over paedophile-group links - BBC News

Dr Jacob Breslow resigns from the transgender charity after attending a paedophile-support conference.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-63137873.amp

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JacquelinePot · 19/08/2023 07:43

Spot on, Reality: "Political correctness, stretched out and turbo charged by intersectional class analysis, to be used as a weapon against any traditional mores."

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borntobequiet · 19/08/2023 08:00

The OU was my first step towards a degree as a mature student in the 1980s. I owe my present career to its existence. The help and support I got from tutors was immeasurable. I’m disgusted at what it seems to have become.
Will garden energetically.

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RealityFan · 19/08/2023 09:41

I remember all those lecturers in fat kipper ties and giant sideburns, appearing on BBC 2 during all those odd hours.

Imagine if in 1973, one of them said on nationwide TV that an older individual having sexual relations with an underage individual should not be addressed as abuse.

The scenes would be wild.

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Tallisker · 19/08/2023 10:25

I'm ashamed to say I'd never heard of Jennie Lee. I am poorly educated, left school at 16 because I was very badly bullied, and never returned to any sort of studying.

What a woman! What a catalogue of achievement against all the odds. She will indeed be turning in her grave.

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SadCelticBunny · 19/08/2023 13:24

@Tallisker
There is so much information out there that it can feel overwhelming.

Reading, whether online or with an actual book in your hand, (my personal choice) opens up the world!!

There are some amazing women in FWR on Mumsnet who can show you where to go.

Back to the original post I cannot believe this is happening in plain sight.
I will definitely donate.

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MurielThrockmorton · 19/08/2023 15:55

I did an OU master’s as it was the only realistic option then just after I had my DD, they regularly send me the alumni magazine and requests for donations, it’s made me think that I need to write to them to tell them why they won’t be getting anything from me. Lots more options for online learning now as well than there were 18 years ago.

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CriticalCondition · 19/08/2023 16:30

Donated. And deleted the 'tip' to Crowdjustice. I have a looong memory and haven't forgotten what they did to Allison Bailey.

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Astoufa · 20/08/2023 00:08

I’d be a bit wary of this one tbh. I have access to OU module materials so I looked up the assessments she’s basing her case on. it’s two related assessments in the module she was tutoring.

The first assessment lays out a case involving two male people of undisclosed ages who are in a relationship. Let’s call them Josh and Will. Will gets into an altercation with a third party and the point of the assessment is to assess his criminal liability for injury to this third party.

The second assessment describes events around Will’s trial for this first incident. Will and Josh have now split up and some conflict and controlling behaviour is described. It is disclosed at this point that Josh is 17. We never find out Will’s age.

So this assessment involves a gay relationship where one party is 17 (ie, over the age of consent!) and the age of their boyfriend is unknown. Presumably Will is an adult as he is facing trial but we have no other information. I can’t see why you’d object to calling these men boyfriends.

If you’re struggling to spot the paedophilia here, Almut has explained on Twitter that because it usually takes two years from incident to trial, Josh would likely have been 15 during the incident described in the first assessment. (Although of course, he could equally have been 16, and by the time of the trial be nearly 18). So therefore, she argues the agenda of these assessments is to normalise paedophilia.

I dunno, this seems like a stretch to me.

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