Durham student rejects compensation after transphobia controversy

Poppy Sullivan on why Durham student Angelos Sofocleous rejected the £1000 compensation offered by the university

Poppy Sullivan
23rd February 2021
Wikimedia Commons
Former Durham University student, Angelos Sofocleous, appeared in national news for refusing an offer of £1000 compensation from the university, as a result of the treatment he received after his transphobic tweet was discovered.

Sofocleous took to Twitter in 2018, retweeting a post linked to an article in The Spectator stating "if women don’t have penises". When discovered, Durham University took immediate action; Sofocleous was removed from his position as assistant director of Durham’s Philosophy journal Critique, as well as General Editor of The Bubble.

He later resigned as President-Elect of Humanist Students due to the growing stress he became subject to as a result of his tweet.

The tweet was described as "horrific" and "transphobic"

The university claims to have acted in this way since they do not tolerate any form of discrimination, stating that while Sofocleous is free to say as he pleases, the societies too can express their liberty in responding to what was said, and take action accordingly. 

The former Chair of the LGBT Humanists, Chris Ward, said the tweet was “horrific” and “transphobic”.

Sofocleous argues that the treatment he received from the University was "unfair" as his dismissal from university organisations was brutally swift and tainted his experience at Durham.

After he made an appeal to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIP), he was offered compensation of £1000 and a letter of apology. However, he rejected the money, stating "I’m not doing it for the money, but for justice".

Durham claim that the compensation was offered as it complied with guidelines put forward by the OIP.

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