Scottish law student cleared of wrongdoing following probe into ‘offensive’ gender comments

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Abertay Uni student Lisa Keogh worries investigation may have impacted her grades

Image credit: Wikicommons/Dr V White

An Abertay University law student who defined a woman as “someone with a vagina” during a seminar has been cleared of wrongdoing by a disciplinary board.

Lisa Keogh hit headlines last month after being reported by classmates for making what they say were “offensive” and “discriminatory” comments during an online class on gender and feminism.

But it was today confirmed that Keogh has been cleared of wrongdoing following an internal investigation by the Scottish University.

She has now received a letter from the chair of the student disciplinary board — the group tasked with looking into her comments and whether they breached university rules — informing her all the complaints against her have been dismissed.

Offering her account of what happened at the time, the 29-year-old said her “vagina” remark came in response to being asked to define a woman. “A biological fact, I thought — and still think — but apparently it is now unacceptable to say it,” she told newspapers. “The whole thing descended into a row. It became quite toxic. Because I had dared to question anything about transgender rights, a target was on my back.”

Having now been cleared of wrongdoing, Keogh says she’s “overjoyed” at the result but “saddened” that the probe came at such a “critical time” in her university career. She feels the final part of her university experience is now “tarnished with bad memories” and worries that her final grades may be impacted. Keogh also says she no longer feels comfortable attending her graduation.

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She continued: “Although Abertay has decided I’m innocent of all charges, the ordeal I have been through has been a punishment in itself. I hope that Abertay University can learn from this experience and not put other students through a similar ordeal just for voicing their opinions.”

A spokesperson for Abertay University said it is legally obliged to investigate all complaints but that not every element of complaint about a student becomes the subject of a disciplinary case.

“Contrary to misleading statements by some commentators who view this as a case about gender identity, Lisa Keogh was not subject to disciplinary action for expressing so-called ‘unacceptable opinions’ about gender identity, or any other topic”, the spokesperson said.

They continued:

“Ms Keogh met with a student disciplinary board on Monday to consider a single element of an initially complex complaint, which fell within the scope of the Code of Student Discipline. This concerned a complaint about the behaviour of Ms Keogh in class. The disciplinary panel did not uphold the complaint against Ms Keogh.”

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