The wife of a leading academic at the centre of a free speech row has revealed vile students called her a ‘b***h’ after they stormed out of a speech by Rod Liddle.
Dorothy Luckhurst told how the ‘baying’ mob intimidated her and rounded on her husband Professor Tim for organising the talk at Durham University.
It comes as undergraduates try to gag guest speakers performing on campus by calling for ‘content warnings’ on their lectures before they arrive.
They said Durham needed to clamp down on future speeches by bringing in transparency of the processes by which people are invited.
Professor Luckhurst had angered students by shouting ‘pathetic’ when they staged a walk-out during Mr Liddle’s talk on Friday – although he later apologised.
Mr Liddle addressed trans issues, women’s rights and institutional racism in the talk – topics that are often weaponised by ‘woke’ activists on campuses.
He yesterday called for university bosses to apology for ‘vilifying’ his speech and said they should reimburse his £150 travel expenses.
Meanwhile Professor Luckhurst is under investigation and is barred from duties following the furore. It is understood he is gagged while the case is live.
Footage emerged of the professor and his wife Dorothy talking to ‘woke’ students who stormed out of the speech on Friday night
Professor Luckhurst tried to calm the students who gawped at him as he educated them on free speech at universities
Seun Twins, Jack Ballingham, Jonah Graham, Declan Merrington and Charlie Procter claimed hosting one of the UK’s best known writers (left) was an ‘abuse of power’. Right: Prof Luckhurst
After the talk, footage emerged of Professor and Mrs Luckhurst talking to students in a bid to calm them down.
They appeared to be helping them understand universities are supposed to be bastions of free speech.
The youths stood with their mouths wide open as Professor Luckhurst spoke before his wife interrupted her husband.
She asked: ‘What are you frightened of you silly… what are you frightened of?’ One of the students squealed back: ‘What do you mean?’
The rest of their exchange was inaudible but Mrs Luckhurst went on to repeat the word ‘a***’.
Mrs Luckhurst last night explained the video left out the context of the chat in which the vicious students hurled insults at the couple.
She said one of the ‘baying’ mob called her a ‘b***h’ and left her intimidated and frightened as they swarmed around them.
She told the Times: ‘I shouldn’t have said what I did but it had been a long day and it was very tense.’
Yesterday Durham students called for ‘content warnings’ on all future speakers and said they wanted a say in who was allowed to address the university.
They also want an investigation ‘based on his [Luckhurst’s] neglect of duty of care to students… and his wife’s bullying’.
Durham societies including ‘mature students’; ‘working class students’; ‘LGBT+’; ‘students with disabilities’; ‘international students’; ‘people of colour’; and ‘womxn’ – a word activists use for females which includes trans women signed the statement.
They laid out a list of ‘demands’, saying: ‘Under Durham University’s Disciplinary Regulations… we believe these actions constitute gross misconduct.’
They also demanded a ‘formal investigation’ into Professor Luckhurst’s ‘neglect of duty of care to students’ and ‘his verbal condemnation of students.’
The statement added: ‘By platforming Rod Liddle, Tim Luckhurst is promoting a culture of harm and hate towards disabled, LGBTQ+, POC [people of colour], and working-class students being normalised…
‘These actions have resulted in students feeling unsafe to attend formals at their college.’
A small group of Left-wing students staged a protest at South College calling for what they deem a ‘safer, more inclusive’ campus
Around 200 students gathered at Durham University yesterday afternoon to protest about the row that blew up following a speech by writer Rod Liddle at an end of year event
Yesterday the placard-waving students who want him out gathered at South College, where the speech, which included Liddle joking about sex workers, had been given
The activists gathered on a green with placards reading ‘mansplain, manipulate, manwife’ and ‘we’re queer, we’re here’
A small number of student activists marched on South College yesterday in their latest attempt to get the professor sacked
A crowd of ‘woke’ students took to South College, which Professor Luckhurst is head of, to ramp up calls for the academic and former newspaper editor to be sacked.
The placard-waving rabble held signs saying ‘human rights are not up for the debate’ and ‘#BinTim’ as guest speakers took turns to address the group.
Chants such as ‘hey hey, ho ho, Tim Luckhurst has got to go’ continued to murmur through the mob.
But they could not draw a distinction between sacking the academic and banning Mr Liddle from speaking – and bizarrely claimed they backed free speech.
Some at the rally even admitted they had not been at the talk, but still felt they needed their anger to be heard.
Connie Harrison, 18, said: ‘It’s important we are here to support our peers.
‘I didn’t actually attend the dinner but my friends did and left early because they were just appalled by what was said in the speech.
‘A few of them tried to speak to Tim at the end but he was not open to them. The only way I think they could have responded was by walking out.’
She added: ‘They weren’t allowed to debate, it just wasn’t the right time for that conversation.
‘Rod Liddle is entitled to his own free speech but not in that environment, not in that context. The students should be allowed to debate it and say their opinions too.’
The youngsters carried flags and banners with messages such as ‘sod Rod’, ‘proud to be pathetic’ and ‘no hate’
The ‘woke’ mob had ramped up its campaign to oust Professor Luckhurst last night as seven societies accused him of ‘gross misconduct’
A speaker talks to Durham University students as they stage a protest at South College yesterday
They claimed he promoted ‘a culture of harm and hate’ by inviting Mr Liddle to give his speech
Ben Bradley, also 18, continued: ‘It was thrust upon the students without any prior warning.
‘I don’t think it was the time and place to be having that conversation, particularly with something as controversial as that.
‘I believe in free speech but I whole heartedly disagree with what happened in that room.’
Another peer who claimed she did go to the dinner said around half upped and left with the other half remaining seated.
The female student, who did not want to be named, said: ‘He made comments about single mothers and that their children should be taken away from them.
‘He made comments about trans people, notably saying if you are born with a penis then you are scientifically a man which is scientifically wrong.
‘He said that colonisation wasn’t the force of Africa’s problems and also made comments on prostitution.’
As she spoke another chant rang out, declaring: ‘When my rights are under attack, what do we do? Fight back.’
The groups claimed the incident, at a formal dinner on Friday, made them feel ‘unsafe’ and ‘distressed’
They claimed it breached the Equality Act and demanded ‘disciplinary regulations’ be brought to bear on the professor – who has been gagged from commenting
Durham University students stand with their banners as they stage a protest at South College yesterday
Newspaper editor turned professor: Who is Tim Luckhurst?
Professor Tim Luckhurst is a former national newspaper editor who turned to academia and rose up the ranks at Kent and Durham Universities.
He started as a reporter on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 in the 1980s and early 90s.
But from 1995 to 1997 he took a plumb job as the editor of news programmes at BBC Scotland.
The top journalist won two Sony Radio Academy Awards for news broadcasting and particularly excelled in foreign coverage.
After his stint at the Beeb, Luckhurst moved to the Scotsman and edited the newspaper before turning to academia.
The 58-year-old from 2007 to November 2019 was Professor of Journalism Kent University.
He also served as Director of KM Television Ltd – which he helped set up – between 2016 and 2019.
In November 2019 he moved up to Durham to be head of South College, and associate pro vice-chancellor (engagement).
French and Spanish student Yasmine Daniel, 18, said: ‘He opened the speech with a joke which was ‘I’m disappointed to see no sex workers here tonight’.
‘That set the tone for the speech and it kind of got worse from there. By the end a lot had walked out but a lot of people were petrified to leave.
‘About eight people walked out on the first table but they got a shocking response from the principal, who called them pathetic.
‘Free speech does not equal hate speech – which is was what happened.’ One man, who wanted to remain anonymous, called for Professor Luckhurst to step down.
He said: ‘I think his place here is now wholly inappropriate because he has let down students so much.
‘The comments Liddle made about people raised by single mothers turning to crime is unfounded.
‘He is absolutely entitled to free speech but free speech doesn’t include the right to hate speech.
‘And also free speech doesn’t give you the right to free speech anywhere. It was not an appropriate setting to have that conversation and it wasn’t appropriate to have it without warning.’
It is understood guest speakers earlier attended a pre-dinner seminar, where they were able to listen and debate ideas with students.
But a student claimed Mr Liddle was unable to attend the seminar slot, and so could only speak at the dinner.
Junior Common Room president, Sean Hannigan cried out to the crowd: ‘We were jumped with a speaker who we did not expect to be speaking.
‘There was no chance to respond. We know these issues were deliberately inflammatory and it was not exactly the right way to raise any of these.
‘I have heard from a lot of other people that they have been organising a rent strike, so this is exactly the momentum we need to get going.
‘The only way that the university will listen is if it hits them financially. This country belongs to us, gay people and black people and every person who lives here.’
Echoing a slogan of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, he added: ‘We need to stand up for this country and its rights and build a new country for the many not the few.’
It comes after Mr Liddle slammed Durham University for its ‘despicable’ treatment of Professor Luckhurst.
What did Rod Liddle say in his speech at the University of Durham?
Rod Liddle’s speech at the University of Durham has not been reported in full, but the contents of the speech have been reported by the university’s student newspaper, the Palatinate.
According to the newspaper, Liddle opened his Friday speech saying he was disappointed not to see any sex workers at the event.
This was in reference to recent controversy surrounding safety training provided by Durham University to student sex workers.
Liddle then claimed that the left was going against ‘science or pure facts,’ saying ‘a person with an X and a Y chromosome, that has a long, dangling penis, is scientifically a man, and that is pretty much, scientifically, the end of the story’, according to the paper.
He continued, on a different topic, saying: ‘It is fairly easily proven that colonialism is not remotely the major cause of Africa’s problems, just as it is very easy to prove that the educational underachievement of British people of Caribbean descent or African Americans is nothing to do with institutional or structural racism’.
Liddle also opined about the UK’s forced adoption policy between 1945 and 1975.
He said that attitudes now put woman, not children, first, adding that anger about the policy did not take into account the child’s mental health and economic situation enough.
He closed his speech with a message to the event’s attendees about the importance of listening to, and doubting other people’s opinions.
The Palatinate reported that a dozen students walked out before the speech began, and several more during it.
At the end, a very small number are reported to have applauded the speaker, and while it is protocol to rise for the high table as it leaves, nearly all students remaining in the hall stayed seated. Some shouted ‘disgusting’ and ‘racist’ at Liddle as he left the room.
The columnist said the institution should issue a ‘grovelling apology’ to him and ‘reinstate him immediately to all his duties’.
He also called for bosses to say sorry to him for ‘vilifying’ his speech and said they should reimburse his £150 travel expenses.
Mr Liddle leapt to his friend’s aid yesterday, blasting Durham for ‘scapegoating’ the academic, who is the head of the newly established South College.
He said he expected that sort of behaviour from the students but was surprised by the universty’s response.
He told GB News: ‘Let’s start with what Durham University should do. They’ve behaved despicably, far worse than the students have behaved.
‘I expected that from the students, I expected that from some of them. What you don’t expect is the kind of double think which Durham University has indulged in.
‘Firstly by saying that they agree with freedom of speech, then by saying except if it’s something we don’t agree with, which the Labour Party on campus doesn’t agree with, then they don’t agree with it.
‘Then most importantly of all you might argue, scapegoating poor Tim Luckhurst who asked me to come along in good faith having cleared it with the university authorities having told them what was happening in advance.
‘They have now decided because they’ve got to appease these jabbering infants they’ve decided they’ve got to do something and so a hugely distinguished, reputable and incredibly competent journalist and professor is left hanging out to dry.
‘And so what they should do now, immediately, is number one, decide whether they believe in free speech or not.
‘Number two, write a grovelling apology to Professor Luckhurst, reinstating him immediately to all his duties, and call off this fatuous investigation…
‘And accept that he invited me here in good faith.
‘And thirdly, what they should do after that is write me a letter of apology and explain to me they were wrong to have vilified me in their comments about this whole affair and they might be better off in future rather than teaching extra courses to their students in how to become prostitutes, a course in good manners might not come amiss.
‘And they can also forward me 150 quid for my travel expenses because I came there free of charge with a wish to do the right thing to give something to public service, all that palaver.’
He added: ‘So they can apologise and reimburse my travel expenses and after that, I’ll be happy.’
Mr Liddle leapt to his friend’s aid yesterday, blasting Durham for ‘scapegoating’ the academic, who is the head of the newly-established South College
A friend of the professor said: ‘Tim is one of the most decent, kindly and intelligent people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. He’s really being victimised here.’
The Free Speech Union said: ‘The vilification and abuse of Professor Luckhurst for inviting Rod Liddle to give an after-dinner speech is an absolute disgrace.
‘If students cannot cope with hearing opinions they find disagreeable they shouldn’t be at university.
‘Durham says it believes in upholding academic free speech, but if so why has it placed Professor Luckhurst under investigation for describing the decision of students to walk out of the speech as ‘pathetic’?
‘In expressing that perfectly lawful view, Professor Luckhurst was exercising his right to free speech and penalising him for doing so could well be a breach of the law that requires universities to uphold free speech on campus.
‘Professor Luckhurst is a member of the Free Speech Union and we are supporting him in full.’
Durham students’ union (SU) called for the professor to be sacked, calling his position ‘untenable’.
Seun Twins, Jack Ballingham, Jonah Graham, Declan Merrington and Charlie Procter claimed hosting one of the UK’s best known writers was an ‘abuse of power’.
Ms Twins has previously written of her hatred of the Tories, calling for them to be ‘dealt with’.
Durham Students’ Union (pictured, two of its five officers) has been blasted for demanding a leading academic resign after he invited journalist Rod Liddle to talk at a dinner party
The Free Speech Union slammed the five officers (pictured, two of them) who penned a rambling statement in a bid to oust South College principal Professor Tim Luckhurst
Seun Twins, Jack Ballingham, Jonah Graham, Declan Merrington and Charlie Procter (pictured) claimed hosting one of the UK’s best known writers was an ‘abuse of power’
They wrote: ‘The Principal of South College has insulted and humiliated the student members of the College.
‘Tim Luckhurst, the former editor of a national newspaper, knew exactly what he was doing when he hijacked a Christmas party and allowed his personal friend to spout vile propaganda he knew would cause division.
‘His shameful attempt to excuse this pantomime by pretending it was for the benefit of students’ education is disgraceful.
‘He has failed in his duty of care as Principal to South College students, and as a leader in our University community.’
During his appearance, Mr Liddle said the Left were ignoring science when it came to trans issues and said Colonialism was not the main cause of Africa’s problems.
He also said the under-performance of pupils of Caribbean descent was not mainly due to institutional racism.
Later, he told the Daily Mail these are mainstream views held by many academics and government experts.
He added: ‘I’m not racist and I’m not transphobic. I want a world where transgender people can live in happiness, dignity and equality. I loathe racism.’
He added the main point of his talk was to ‘have tolerance of other opinions and doubt in our own opinions’.
Professor Luckhurst later emailed students to apologise for using the word ‘pathetic’ but defended his right to invite Liddle and said he was in favour of ‘free speech’.
But the university announced an investigation, saying it was ‘concerned at reports the behaviours exhibited at the occasion fall short of those that we expect.’
The university has refused to comment further. Professor Luckhurst has not been allowed to comment.
Revealed: Tory-hating ex-head girl behind Durham University protests launched ‘culture commission’ to ‘deconstruct toxicity’ on campus
- Seun Twins was behind campaign to oust Durham Uni Professor Tim Luckhurst
- Came after he branded walkout in Rod Liddle speech by woke students ‘pathetic’
- Twins has launched a ‘culture commission’ to ‘locate and deconstruct toxicity’ at her university
- She has previously hailed ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as ‘the white king’
The left-wing student leader behind a campaign to oust Professor Tim Luckhurst described Jeremy Corbyn as ‘the white king’ and suggested Tories should be ‘dealt with’.
Seun Twins has said the union’s objective is ‘unravelling the unfair power dynamics which permeate into a culture of privilege’ at the university.
She has launched a ‘culture commission’ to ‘explore and locate and ultimately deconstruct toxicity at Durham’.
Seun Twins, the left-wing student leader behind a campaign to oust a Durham University lecturer, has previously described Jeremy Corbyn as ‘the white king’ and suggested Tories should be ‘dealt with’
After she was elected, Miss Twins called for Tories to be ‘dealt with’ by ‘roadmen’ in a leaked post from her private Instagram account.
Roadman is a slang term defined as a young person who spends ‘a lot of time on the streets in a group, and who may be involved in selling drugs’, according to Collins dictionary.
She wrote: ‘I don’t condone violence in the slightest, but sometimes when you are in the presence of such grotesque entitlement, do you ever just want to say ‘We need to take these tories to South London and let roadmen deal with them’ but you realise that you have to be the palatable and charismatic black girl since you are going to be their president for the next year and you must to smile and wave.’ [sic]
Miss Twins has said the union’s objective is ‘unravelling the unfair power dynamics which permeate into a culture of privilege’ at the university. It comes after Professor Tim Luckhurst (pictured), principal of Durham’s South College, branded a walkout by woke students ‘pathetic’ and is now facing investigation
The students staged a walkout during a speech by right-wing journalist Rod Liddle (pictured)
She later insisted the post was in response to a specific incident of bullying and was an expression of the way she felt she had to present herself ‘because of racism and sexism’.
Now in her second year as Durham Students’ Union president, Miss Twins has made no secret of where her political affiliations lie.
She has previously hailed former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as ‘the white king’.
Miss Twins, a former head girl at Camden School for Girls, a comprehensive in North London, became student union president after taking senior roles in the Durham People Of Colour Association and the Intersectional Feminism Society.
Durham SU launches bid to oust leading academic from his job after ‘woke’ students stormed out of a speech because they were ‘frightened’ of journalist’s words
The statement in full:
‘The Principal of South College has insulted and humiliated the student members of the College. Tim Luckhurst, the former editor of a national newspaper, knew exactly what he was doing when he hijacked a Christmas party and allowed his personal friend to spout vile propaganda he knew would cause division. His shameful attempt to excuse this pantomime by pretending it was for the benefit of students’ education is disgraceful. He has failed in his duty of care as Principal to South College students, and as a leader in our University community.
Inviting your friend to deliberatively provoke and shock students in their own home is a violation of their community. South students who were enjoying their Christmas celebrations were compromised by their Principal, who prioritised his own political agenda over their interests. Attempts to spin this act as a progressive strike for ‘education’ is an insult to every student and actual academic at Durham. This is hazing, pure and simple; a straightforward abuse of power, which Luckhurst knew would provoke those who refused to silently submit to his theatrical brand of bullying to stand up, and face his insults. We fully stand by our students who exercised their freedom of speech rights to leave this sorry excuse for an ‘education’. We are also grateful to the very many academics at Durham, and beyond, who are calling out this attempt to corrupt their professional reputation for selfish reasons.
The Principal’s attempts to frame his calculated behaviour within the freedom of speech discourse is disingenuous, and does a disservice to those genuinely fighting threats to academic freedom across the world. We will challenge the Acting Vice-Chancellor on how it could ever be procedurally correct for a Principal to take it upon himself to ruin a Christmas party because his ‘right’ to ‘educate’ students was more important than their right to just enjoy their dinner, with friends, in their home. The students at South College deserve a proper apology, not just self-aggrandising quotes from Orwell.
We must also acknowledge the, at best inappropriate and at worst antagonistic, behaviour by the Principal’s wife. Guests in our community are expected to respect our community. Our Colleges are not battlegrounds for childish belittlement; they are learning communities, and respect is fundamental to learning.
We have read a lot about the Principal’s ‘rights’ over the weekend. We have seen little recognition of his responsibilities. We ask that our community therefore focuses not on the distraction he has invited, but rather on the standards we should expect of a College Principal compared to the behaviour we have seen. Watch the videos of Friday night. Read the testimony of students who were present and the statements of our College representatives and SU Associations. This is not the behaviour of a man we want educating, leading and supporting our students.
Durham’s problematic culture is endemic. This is not an isolated event, but a result of a longstanding failure to properly address unacceptable behaviour. We have welcomed the recent commitments and efforts from the University leadership to tackle the historic problems, and this incident shows that the change needed extends beyond policy and into culture. This is a test for all of us. If we accept this style of leading a College as normal then what we saw on Friday will become the norm.
Notwithstanding any other positive things done at South College, Tim Luckhurst’s position at Durham is untenable. No Principal gets to abuse their students, call them pathetic, and then attack them for wanting to just be safe in their home. The Principal of South College’s position as an intellectual and pastoral leader is now a threat, not an asset, to our collegiate community.
We must make clear our commitment to our values, and demonstrate our anger that this response has been necessary, so we encourage all students, staff, and supporters to contact the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (College and Student Experience) to make their views known. The events of Friday are acknowledged as unacceptable, and we must now have the wider conversation about what we expect of our leaders, and the conversation must be bigger than the misdeeds of one stubborn man.
Finally, in situations like these, when someone is in the wrong but convinced of their ‘rights’, it can be incredibly easy to help them make themselves a martyr. Our community can’t afford to have someone who so clearly offends our values subjected to a rushed or flawed process that lets them claim to be a victim. We have to trust that the University leadership will do the right thing, even though the process won’t be in public and the outcome won’t be immediate. We should rightly be angry at the people who violate the values of our community, but we understand why institutional public statements are cautious in these situations. We’ll judge them on their response and how they demonstrate that Tim Luckhurst is not untouchable.’