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Professor who took on woke students over campus speech 'is still in his post' as probe ends 

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Woke Durham students threaten rent strike AGAIN as university refuses to publish its probe into college chief who invited journalist Rod Liddle to speak

  • Protesters said they will boycott dinners amid the ongoing Tim Luckhurst drama
  • They said they will tell students to slap the Durham with lowest ranking in survey
  • The row began when they demanded he resign after he invited Rod Liddle to talk
  • Activists claim the journalist is ‘racist and transphobic’, which he strongly denies
  • A complaint prompted a probe but professor is understood to be back in his role


Durham students have threatened a summer rent strike after the university refused to publish a report into a professor at the centre of a toxic ‘woke row’.

Protesters said they will also boycott dinners and tell final year undergraduates to slap the institution with the lowest ranking in the National Student Survey.

The row started when they demanded the resignation of South College chief Tim Luckhurst after he invited journalist Rod Liddle to give a speech last month.

Activists claimed Mr Liddle, associate editor of The Spectator magazine is ‘racist and transphobic’ – an accusation he vehemently denies.

A complaint to university bosses prompted an investigation and the professor stepped back from public activities – but is now understood to be back at work.

Durham last night said the probe was finished but added its recommendations would remain confidential.

Around 200 students gathered at Durham University last month to protest about the row that blew up following a speech by writer Rod Liddle at an end of year event

Around 200 students gathered at Durham University last month to protest about the row that blew up following a speech by writer Rod Liddle at an end of year event

Students demanded the resignation of Tim Luckhurst (pictured), principal of Durham University's South College, after he invited the journalist Rod Liddle to give a speech

Students demanded the resignation of Tim Luckhurst (pictured), principal of Durham University’s South College, after he invited the journalist Rod Liddle to give a speech

Some students were livid with the move and had plans for more demonstrations if the institution would not back down.

First year Niall Hignett, who was among the activists last month, told Palatinate, ‘My message to the University is get your act together, publish the report, and stop failing your students.

‘If we don’t see the report in the coming days, student leaders will start working on our next steps.’

He added: ‘It either ends now, or we will begin working to make the university better, safer, and more inclusive in spite of a management in direct opposition to those ambitions.’ 

Students claimed Mr Liddle (pictured), associate editor of The Spectator magazine is'racist and transphobic' – an accusation he vehemently denies

Students claimed Mr Liddle (pictured), associate editor of The Spectator magazine is ‘racist and transphobic’ – an accusation he vehemently denies

Newspaper editor turned professor: Who is Tim Luckhurst?

Tim Luckhurst is a former newspaper editor who turned to academia at Kent and Durham Universities.

He started as a reporter on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 in the 1980s.

But from 1995 to 1997 he took over as editor of news programmes at BBC Scotland.

He won two Sony Radio Academy Awards for news broadcasting.

Luckhurst later moved to the Scotsman and edited it 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.

It is the second time they have threatened a rent strike, with the first last month saying they would withhold fees of £8,000 in college accommodation.

Protest leader Sean Hannigan, 22, said in mid-December: ‘The only way that the university will listen is if it hits them financially.’

The row began after students staged a walk-out at a college formal when they found out Mr Liddle was about to speak. 

It prompted the professor to say ‘pathetic’, though he later apologised.

Students then held a protest, holding up posters reading ‘Luckhurst out’, and threatened to ‘hit the university financially’ by withholding annual fees.

Mr Liddle said the views in it, including that the Left are ignoring science over trans issues, are held by many respected academics.

The university released a statement on Twitter saying it stood ‘shoulder to shoulder’ those who helped coordinate the protests.

Many senior academics also threw their weight behind the student campaign.

The Durham statement issued last night said the inquiry was ‘carried out in line with established university policies and procedures’.

It continued: ‘That investigation has now concluded and a number of recommendations have been made.

‘It would be inappropriate to comment on what remains a confidential and ongoing process.’

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