Staff news

Response from the Principal

A response to UCU Edinburgh from the Principal about the screening of 'Adult Human Female' at an Edinburgh Academics for Academic Freedom (AFAF) event.

8 December 2022

Thank you for your email about the Academics for Academic Freedom event.  This is an emotive issue and I understand your strength of feeling.

I wish to reiterate the University’s commitment to fostering an inclusive, supportive and safe environment for our whole community. Our Trans Equality Policy outlines the support and advice that the University offers students and staff who are undergoing any form of gender reassignment, and how other people can support them.

Regarding this specific event, as I’ve mentioned before about previous events, as part of our commitment to freedom of expression and academic freedom, it is our duty to make sure staff and students feel able to discuss controversial topics and each event allows for debate. Given the size of our community, it is inevitable that the ideas of different members will conflict, but we always encourage respectful debate and discussion whenever there are differences of view or opinion. The event Chair will ensure that all attendees are aware of, and comply with, the University's Dignity and Respect Policy, so that those wanting to attend feel able to contribute in this context.

If you feel able to, please consider joining the event on the day and to engage in these frank but respectful discussions.

Sarah Cunningham-Burley has been in touch with the Staff Pride Network Co-Chair about this event, and Lucy Evans, Deputy Secretary Students, has offered to meet student groups.

Best wishes,


Professor Peter Mathieson

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh