Investigate false claims, pleads accused student The Times 18.05.21

The original article is here.

A law student at the centre of a freedom of speech controversy has called for her accusers to be investigated after they branded her a “rape apologist”.

Lisa Keogh, 29, a mature student. is facing disciplinary action over “offensive” and “discriminatory” comments that she allegedly made during lectures at Abertay University, Dundee.

She was reported by younger classmates after she said that women were born with female genitals and that men were physically stronger than women.

Keogh was also accused of saying women were the “weaker sex” and calling other students “man-hating feminists” after they suggested that all men were rapists and posed a danger to women. She says she made those comments and stands by them.

However, she has also been accused of stating it is the “woman’s own fault if they became rape victims”, a charge she strenuously denies.

“What I did say was that women should take precautions to protect themselves,” she said. “Sadly, it’s not an ideal world and women and men alike should take precautions to keep themselves safe.”

Keogh, a final year student, called for lecture recordings to be released, insisting they would vindicate her. “These claims could not be more serious,” she said. “Those individuals who made these false and damaging accusations should be investigated. People studying law should know that you cannot make untrue, defamatory statements without facing serious consequences.”

One of Keogh’s classmates was challenged about the allegations on social media, by an individual who wrote: “Why am I doubtful that Lisa Keogh stated that the majority of women deserve to be raped?”

The student responded: “I said it was ‘suggested” not stated. Her exact words were ‘women need to take accountability’ and ‘don’t walk through a dark park on your own’ . . . suggesting that the actions are not the responsibility of the rapist but that of women generally.”

Keogh claimed she was verbally abused by other students and muted by her lecturer in a video seminar when she raised concerns about a trans woman taking part in mixed martial arts bouts. “I wasn’t being mean, transphobic or offensive,” she said.

“I made the point that this woman had testosterone in her body for 32 years and, as such, would be genetically stronger than your average woman.

“This is a matter of basic biological fact and I won’t be silenced”.

Keogh’s fate will be decided by a disciplinary panel meeting today.

The university’s definition of misconduct includes “using offensive language” or “discriminating against gender reassignment”, while punishment can be as harsh as expulsion.

Keogh is being backed by Joanna Cherry, the QC and MP, and the Free Speech Union which said: “After the passing of the Hate Crime and Public Order Act, free speech is in intensive care north of the border.”

Professor Nigel Seaton, the principal, said: “All universities should be places where freedom of speech is of paramount importance and we reject any notion that controversial or challenging debate is in any way stifled at Abertay.”

 

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