The vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford has stirred controversy by claiming it’s not her job to stop homophobia in the university.
Professor Louise Richardson made the comments at the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit, according to Pink News.
“They don’t feel comfortable being in class with someone with those views.
“And I say, ‘I’m sorry, but my job isn’t to make you feel comfortable. Education is not about being comfortable. I’m interested in making you uncomfortable’.
“If you don’t like his views, you challenge them, engage with them, and figure how a smart person can have views like that.
“Work out how you can persuade him to change his mind. It is difficult, but it is absolutely what we have to do.”
The university student union’s LGBTQ Campaign has condemned Richardson’s comments, warning that they could be a violation of the Equality Act, under which “tutors are directly in charge of admissions and any that harbour homophobic beliefs could be resistant to admitting LGBTQ+ students”.
The LGBTQ Campaign said in a statement, “[The comments] appear to indicate support for tutors expressing homophobic views to their students, as Professor Richardson believes that students do not have a right to be offended and must take on the responsibility of challenging their tutors on such matters.
“We are dismayed that the vice-chancellor has been approached by students seeking help, only to dismiss their concerns as being overly sensitive.”