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King’s College London tells academics that backing Stonewall could boost their careers

The charity is listed among inclusion groups that staff should work with on the university’s promotion application form


Academic staff at King’s College London have been told that showing support for the LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall may boost their chances of a promotion.

The university has provided staff with guidance on education and research contracts about how to rise to readers or professors.

They are required to fill out an eight page application form with sections on teaching, research impact and academic leadership. One particular section is titled “inclusion and support” where a list including Stonewall appears, according to the Telegraph.

The guidance has faced some criticism by lecturers with one of them claiming that managers were essentially asking him to “campaign on Stonewall’s behalf.”

The guidance provided by King’s human resources team said: “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 they communicate in a way that enables people to excel.”

It went on to say that staff “should use part five of the promotion application form to detail specific activity undertaken to support the university’s equality, diversity and inclusion ambitions,” giving an example of “participating in equality, diversity and inclusion activity such as Athena SWAN, Race Equality and Stonewall LGBTQ groups.”

Stonewall has previously come under fire for its training on gender-neutral language, facilities and use of pronouns. KCL was awarded a “gold award” by Stonewall’s Workplace Index Scheme last year.

Dr John Armstrong, a reader in financial mathematics at King’s, has said: “We are being told that if we campaign on Stonewall’s behalf it will help with promotion.”

He continues: “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.

“It is not just a minor oversight – it is a strategic failure caused by prioritising a corporate view on social justice over academic excellence.”

Another example of inclusion provided by the guidance from the university is prompting staff to take part in “promoting the university’s community networks, such as Proudly King’s: LGBTQ+ Network.”

A King’s College London spokesman said: “We’re proud of the work we’ve done to build an inclusive atmosphere on campus in collaboration with EDI [equality, diversity and inclusion] experts and our staff networks, such as Elevate for women and Nest for parents.

“Academic staff applying for promotion choose how they provide evidence to support their individual applications against a range of specific criteria. Academic freedom is fundamental to King’s success and is underpinned by the Freedom of Expression Standing Advisory Group, who ensure that freedom of expression in our academic and student community is fully supported.”