Student to sue university over ‘transgender bullying’ The Times 25.05.20

The original article is here.

A student is considering legal action against Bristol University over an alleged two-year campaign of bullying by transgender activists.

Raquel Rosario-Sanchez has instructed lawyers after the university ended a 16-month disciplinary procedure without taking action against a trans student about whom she had complained.

Ms Rosario-Sanchez, 30, said she was targeted by “masked protesters” who threatened to throw eggs at her when she attended hearings.

“Trans activists used bullying in an attempt to stifle my free speech as a defender of women’s rights while my university did nothing to stop them,” she said.

She filed a bullying complaint in January 2018, shortly after agreeing to chair an event for the group Woman’s Place UK on proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act. Feminist groups raised concerns about the prospect of self-identifying trans people using single-sex spaces.

Ms Rosario-Sanchez claimed that in the following months a trans group distributed pamphlets urging students to chant “scum, scum, scum” when she attended disciplinary meetings. One group told its members to give her “hell”.

She said that the university required her to hire private security guards on multiple occasions to host speakers on campus. Activists wrote an open letter to Hugh Brady, Bristol’s vice-chancellor, calling her student feminist society “nasty, nasty transphobes”.

Bristol threw out the bullying allegations last June, blaming “reasons unrelated to the merits of the case”. Ms Rosario-Sanchez requested a review of the handling of the case, which ruled in the university’s favour in December.

She is crowdfunding her campaign to sue the university, alleging indirect sex discrimination, negligence and unlawful victimisation on the basis of the Equality Act.

Her lawyer, Peter Daly, of Slater and Gordon, said: “Every student has the right to pursue their education in an environment that is safe from bullying and harassment.”

Ms Rosario-Sanchez says the ordeal caused her PhD progress to stall and fears that she will lose scholarship funding from the Dominican Republic, where she is from, next year.

Bristol University said: “Our internal processes are confidential and therefore we are unable to comment further.”