University tells staff backing Stonewall can be key to promotion

By Ewan Somerville



Daily Telegraph


ACADEMICS at King’s College London (KCL) have been told that showing support for Stonewall, the LGBT charity, could help them win promotion. The Russell Group university has distributed guidance to staff on how they can rise through the ranks to become readers or professors. They are required to submit an application form that runs to eight pages, one of which is titled “inclusion and support” and lists working with groups such as Stonewall as a good practice. Instructions from the human resources team at KCL on how to fill out the form say “you should evidence how you create an inclusive environment where colleagues are valued and able to succeed; how you develop themselves and others; and how you communicate in a way that enables people to excel”. Stonewall has been criticised by gender-critical campaigners over its training for employers on gender-neutral language, facilities and use of pronouns. KCL was given a “gold award” last year by Stonewall’s Workplace Index scheme, a league table of employers. Dr John Armstrong, a reader in financial mathematics at the university, said: “We are being told that if we campaign on Stonewall’s behalf it will help with promotion. There are no college-approved groups that support the needs of female staff or that support academic freedom. This clear bias is discriminatory and undermines the impartiality and credibility of KCL research.” Staff seeking promotion are also “expected” to complete in-house diversity training. A KCL spokesman said: “Academic staff applying for promotion choose how they provide evidence to support their applications against a range of specific criteria. Academic freedom is fundamental to King’s success.”