Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, has stated that protesters at the second attempted screening of the film ‘Adult Human Female’ are to be investigated.
The film, which many have described as transphobic, was set to be screened on 26 April in the Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre.
The university cancelled the screening after protesters blocked the entrance to the venue, preventing attendees from entering.
In a statement on the university website, Mathieson described how a “handful of disruptive protesters restricted access to the venue preventing the organisers from holding the event and [led] to increased tensions and safety concerns.
“I want to reassure the University community that we will take all steps available to us to fully investigate those who were responsible for the disturbances.”
The proposed screening of the film had proved controversial, with a Edinburgh University Student’s Association (EUSA) sabbatical officer accusing the film of spreading ‘transphobic misinformation’.
Edinburgh Staff Pride Network, the University and College Union (UCU)’s Edinburgh branch, and societies including Pride Society and Girl*Up also condemned the decision.
Prior to the scheduled screening of the film, a protest organised by Cabaret Against the Hate Speech, the Staff Pride Network and the UCU gathered outside the venue.
A group of students separate to the main protest blocked off the entrance to the Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre, prompting the university to cancel the event.
The statement from Peter Mathieson does not explicitly state which protesters will be investigated.
Upon enquiry, a University of Edinburgh spokesperson told The Student that no further information would be provided.
Responding to the proposed investigation, Edinburgh Staff Pride Network said in a statement:
“Members of the University of Edinburgh Staff Pride Network, students, the UCU and UNISON members had staged a peaceful protest across the pavement from the lecture theatre.
“We did not obstruct entry to the venue.”
They reiterated that their “policy was clear throughout: do not directly engage with anyone there to watch the film or support the screening.”
Continuing, they said that: “a direct-action group barricaded the entrance to the university building.
“While the Staff Pride Network had no role in this, we respect their freedom to protest in any way they wish.
“We recognise these protesters were asserting their belief that de-platforming hate-speech is a necessary and effective counter to the spread of misinformation.”