University College London is the first university in the U.K. to formally drop its affiliation with the pro-LGBT activist organization Stonewall, and a report from the Christian Institute explains it was over the group’s “discredited Diversity Champions and Workplace Equality Index schemes.”
The school said its move will not affect its commitment to fairness for LGBTQ faculty and students, and it recognized the “importance, complexity, and sensitivity of issues relating to sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex.”
But the school’s academic board cited an implied endorsement of the controversial lobby group’s positions in its participation, and recognized there were concerns about academic freedom.
It voted against continuing.
Stonewall’s agenda, in which many institutions and corporations in the U.K. participate, “tells employers to promote trans ideology in the workplace. Those participating are given a more favorable score on the Workplace Equality Index – which purports to measure how ‘LGBT-friendly’ an organization is,” the report confirmed.
But the school said in a statement “the fundamental need to uphold academic freedom and freedom of speech in an academic context, recognizing that a formal institutional commitment to Stonewall may have the effect of inhibiting academic work and discussion within UCL about sex and gender identity.”
The school said, “UCL’s institutional relationship with Stonewall is a highly contested matter about which many in our community feel strongly. The discussion of the issues has been conducted in a constructive manner.
“UCL hopes that we can move forward in that same spirit, so that we might continue to disagree well and build UCL as a genuinely diverse community in which people are able to express their beliefs and be themselves.”
The school already had been given a letter from more than 30 academics who urged officials to cut ties with Stonewall. The report said the letter warned that educational freedom was being stifled.
Further, the letter said, “tendentious and anti-scientific claims” are in fact promoted by Stonewall as “objective fact.”
The controversial Stonewall agenda has created issues previously.
Just months ago, the University of Essex was warned its coordination with Stonewall “had resulted in it misrepresenting the law on transgender issues, with barrister Akua Reindorf warning of ‘potential illegalities’ in the university’s trans policy, which presented the law ‘as Stonewall would prefer it to be, rather than the law as it is,'” the report said.
The BBC also recently ditched Stonewall, based on questions over its impartiality.
Director General Tim Davie reportedly said, “While I do not think that our journalism has been influenced by our involvement in the Diversity Champions program, not renewing our involvement is the correct move at this time to minimize the risk of perceived bias and avoid any perception that engagement with the program is influencing our own decision-making.”
Also, groups that have fled the agenda include the Crown Prosecution Service, the education group Ofcom, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Department of Health and Social Care.
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