Selina Todd, Professor of Modern History at St Hilda’s College, has been assigned security guards at her lectures for the rest of the year.
This follows an investigation by the University into a report made by two of the professor’s own students detailing threats that they had seen made against her. At Professor Todd’s latest undergraduate lecture, a group of students in ‘trans activist’ t-shirts were deterred by the presence of security guards.
Professor Todd has been accused by some activists of being a “transphobe” for her writing on feminist history and her alignment with groups such as Women’s Place UK and Fair Play for Women. Both groups have been condemned by Oxford SU LGBTQ+ Campaign for threatening trans peoples’ rights and safety.
The academic has been the subject of regular complaints by activist students, which have been characterised as “malicious”, amidst calls to be removed from her position by the University.
Professor Todd’s first book, Young Women, Work, and Family in England 1918-1950, received the Women’s History Network Annual Prize, and her second, The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class, 1910-2010, was both a Sunday Times best-seller and listed by the British Historian David Kynaston as one of his Books of the Year.
Todd told The Telegraph that she is “frightened” by threats in lectures which have had “a huge impact.” She added that “you don’t expect to be defending yourself the whole time from complaints or threats of violence.”
Though she has praised the History Department for their support during this time, Professor Todd has urged the University to improve its handling of malicious complaints and impose greater discipline on students making threats. “It would be far more helpful if the university could take robust action against the people making these threats in the first place,” she added to The Telegraph.
When approached, the University refused to comment on individual arrangements but told The Daily Mail that “when staff raise concerns with us, the university will always review the circumstances and offer appropriate support to ensure their safety and freedom of expression.”