A MINISTER says the “deplorable” actions of protesters whose efforts led to the resignation of a university professor were not an isolated incident.

Kathleen Stock stepped down from her role as a philosophy lecturer at the University of Sussex in October last year.

The professor was accused of transphobia for her views on gender identity, with a group of students campaigning for her to be fired.

The University of Sussex previously said the institution would not tolerate threats to “academic freedoms”.

But Prof Stock said announced her resignation after “an absolutely horrible time” – 18 years after joining the university staff.

Universities minister Michelle Donelan said she found it “completely deplorable” that “balaclava-clad protesters forced a female academic, Kathleen Stock, to stay off campus under threats of physical violence”.

The minister added that it was not an “isolated event”, as just a few weeks later an “intolerant mob” threatened the Israeli ambassador outside an event held at the London School of Economics.

“We’re not talking about peaceful protest here, the right of which of course is sacrosanct,” she said.

“We are talking about threats, intimidation and harassment.”

Ms Donelan said Policy Exchange polling had shown that 32 per cent of academics identifying as right-wing had refrained from airing their views in teaching or research, while around 15 per cent identifying as politically centrist or left-wing also reported self-censoring.

Vice-chancellors, academics and students should not “allow the history books to record your name as part of the small cabal of the intolerant”, she said.

VCs need to “go into bat” for their staff and “put their money where their mouth is” on the issue rather than bowing to the “intolerant few”.

The government’s Free Speech Bill has been carried over to the next session of Parliament.

Ms Donelan said she expects the House of Lords will have “a lot to say on this subject” but that the Bill is less about what happens in Parliament than “a culture change that will reverberate through the sector”.