Trans rights activists prompt unsafe workplace complaint by academic

Melbourne Uni academic lodges a formal complaint against her employer, alleging bullying and violation of academic freedom.

Trans rights activists prompt unsafe workplace complaint by academic
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Accusations of workplace bullying and a lack of safety have been levelled against the University of Melbourne by associate philosophy professor, Holly Lawford-Smith who has been the target of trans rights activists.

In a formal complaint submitted to WorkSafe Victoria last week, Lawford-Smith claimed her employer had breached occupational health and safety regulations and undermined the institution’s supposed commitment to academic freedom.

Lawford-Smith, a well-known gender-critical feminist opposed to trans women utilising women-only spaces and services, lodged the complaint after experiencing a two-year campaign against her.

The campaign intensified notably after her attendance at the Let Women Speak rally, which was gatecrashed by Neo-Nazis.

She criticised the institutional culture at Melbourne University, stating, "The way they allow gender-critical feminists to be treated is unacceptable and violates academic freedom and what a university should be about."

Lawford-Smith is the author of two notable books, Gender Critical Feminism and Sex Matters, both published by Oxford University Press.

For the past six weeks, an anonymous boycott campaign by students and radical trans rights activists against her second-year feminism class has been underway.

The university has also initiated disciplinary processes against her.

One week after her attendance at the March 18 rally, posters and stickers produced by Fight Transphobia Uni Melb began appearing on campus.

These materials accused Lawford-Smith of opposing the existence of transgender people and labelled her prospective students as fascists.

Professor Russell Goulbourne, the University of Melbourne dean of arts, has denounced this campaign as disparaging and intimidating.

However, Lawford-Smith's WorkSafe complaint argues that an earlier email from Goulbourne to staff, in which he condemned the rally's anti-transgender views, had actually fueled the campaign.

An anonymous university source confirmed that the university had investigated Lawford-Smith's rally attendance and found her innocent of any wrongdoing. A separate review into her social posts is still ongoing.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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