STUDENTS have reacted angrily in a row over "transphobia" after a university came out in defence of a professor under "attack".

A social media feud began on Thursday when the hashtag "Shame On Sussex Uni" began trending across the country. The university has since spoken out about a campaign to have Professor Kathleen Stock, professor of philosophy fired.

A group of anonymous students have launched a campaign to have Prof Stock sacked amid accusations of transphobia.

Adam Tickell, vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex, said: “We are investigating activity on our campus which appears to have been designed to attack Professor Kathleen Stock for exercising her academic freedoms. Disturbingly, this has included pressuring the University to terminate her employment.

“Everyone at the University has the right to be free from harassment and intimidation. We cannot and will not tolerate threats to cherished academic freedoms and will take any action necessary to protect the rights of our community.”

The statement, released on social media, has led to many students calling out the university for their stance.

Tom Pashby, an MA student, told The Argus: “As a current Sussex student who happens to be non-binary, it is disturbing to see the university put so much official support behind so-called 'academic freedom' which negatively affects the freedom of students like me to participate in university life.

“It would be great to see university management stand by the objectives they say they support, like 'pursuing progressive goals', instead of creating a hostile environment for trans and non-binary students and staff.”

Another student states that they chose not to study philosophy at the university because of Prof Stock's public views on gender identification. He has asked not to be named.

He said: "Had it not been for the fact that I was a newly out trans man when I started university, I would be studying philosophy instead of my current course.

"It was especially shocking given Sussex's eagerness to market themselves as a progressive university with a rich history of student activism."

The trending hashtag began after supporters of Prof Stock became aware of  Anti Terf Sussex's campaign to have her fired.

Her supporters demanded the university protect her as the group had posted fliers around campus and launched an Instagram page to further their cause.

Anti Terf Sussex's manifesto states: "Stock is one of this wretched island’s most prominent transphobes, espousing bastardised variation of 'radical feminism'.

"She has spent years campaigning for the exclusion of trans people from 'women’s only spaces,'" they added.

The group's Instagram page antiterfsussex states that they are "an unaffiliated network of queer and trans students, committed to showing unity + resistance in the face of Sussex uni's employment of Kathleen Stock".

As one of the UK’s leading gender-critical feminists, who has insisted that a person cannot change their biological sex, Prof Stock has faced huge amounts of criticism and abuse over the years – with blogs, petitions and Twitter users regularly demanding her dismissal for her allegedly “transphobic” views.

Prof Stock told Times Higher Education in 2020: “It is quite a strange situation to work somewhere where people make it clear that they loathe you.

“I’ve found it quite a hostile environment – [some] have claimed my position is bigoted and I should be sacked."

Have you got a story for us? Email or contact us here.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates sent straight to your inbox.

You can also call us on 01273 021 400.