Bullying and Harassment Permitted by Bristol University

by Raquel Rosario Sánchez

Bullying and Harassment Permitted by Bristol University

by Raquel Rosario Sánchez
Raquel Rosario Sánchez
Case Owner
I have been bullied and harassed by students at the University of Bristol over my feminist principles for two years. My case seeks to ensure what is happening to me does not happen to other students.
Funded
on 20th May 2020
£49,050
pledged of £50,000 stretch target from 1,932 pledges
Raquel Rosario Sánchez
Case Owner
I have been bullied and harassed by students at the University of Bristol over my feminist principles for two years. My case seeks to ensure what is happening to me does not happen to other students.

Latest: Aug. 21, 2021

Costs and Case Management Conference on 5 August 2021

Dear everyone, 

Hope you are well.

We had a CCMC on 5 August. It was mostly focused on budgeting issues and other matters. The short summary is that our legal case is going well and I am very happ…

Read more

NOTE

This page is no longer receiving funding pledges. I have created a new CrowdJustice page, which is a continuation of this one, where people can continue donating. In February 2021, my solicitor changed law firms and CrowdJustice policy requires that a separate page is created in order to direct the funds from donors to the new law firm. You can see the current page here


Who am I?

My name is Raquel Rosario Sánchez. I have been bullied and harassed by students at Bristol University for my feminist principles for over two years. The University has failed to protect me. My case seeks to ensure what is happening to me does not happen to other students. 

I am a feminist writer, campaigner and researcher from the Dominican Republic. I was accepted on a PhD course at the University of Bristol, starting in January 2018. My academic specialism is in ending violence against girls and women. My PhD work focuses on online communities for men who pay for sex. 

By the time I arrived in the UK, on November 2017, I was already a recognised feminist writer who published regularly both in English and in Spanish. It was on that basis that feminist political campaign Woman's Place UK asked me to chair its upcoming meeting in Bristol, scheduled for 8 February 2018. I invite you to please take a look at some of my writing, research and campaigning on women and girls rights.

My Story

Woman’s Place UK exists to protect women’s sex-based rights, as they are enshrined in the Equality Act 2010, and is falsely described as an anti-trans organisation. Because I was associated with it, as soon as the event was announced, a number of trans activist students at the University of Bristol started bullying, harassing and targeting me at various events, both inside and outside university campus. The first incident took place in January 2018. The last one (so far) in March 2020. I’ve done everything I can to try to get the University of Bristol to stop it – but they’ve refused to take any steps to help me, even failing to properly follow their own procedures.

When I came from the Dominican Republic, on a scholarship, to be at the Centre for Gender and Violence Research, my life felt like a dream come true. Over the next two years, this dream became a nightmare. I have been subject to intense hate, vitriol and bigotry. This took the form of mainly online abuse by a range of people, some of whose names and identities were obscured, others of whom I could identify as being students at the University. Among them, people have incited their social media followers to throw eggs and milkshakes at me. I’ve read that I should be punched and turfed out of England. Trans activists have called for my deportation. I’ve been called terf, scum, trash, nasty, bigot, heinous and sickening, during periodic campaigns of vilification targeting every feminist event I’ve participated in.

But when I raised this with the University of Bristol, their immediate response was to question me

I read the University’s policies, which clearly stated that what was happening to me was unacceptable, and filed a student complaint against the students targeting me. In April 2018, the University of Bristol opened disciplinary procedures against one student, who identifies as trans. The charges were (among others) "bullying, harassment and unacceptable behaviour." The student got legal representation, and the process prolonged for about a year and a half. Meanwhile, they escalated their behaviour, mounting even more campaigns targeting me at various feminists events, inside and outside the University of Bristol. 

The University started three separate Disciplinary Hearings only to close them immediately. They argued there were security concerns posed by the threat of their own balaclava-clad students who would protest each hearing. When I was due to give evidence on 15 June 2018, trans activists students distributed a pamphlet titled 'Why We Fight The TERF War' in which students were encouraged to yell 'SCUM SCUM SCUM' and 'You’re shit and you know you are'. The University never managed to question the trans student they were allegedly investigating. They did allow the trans student’s barrister to cross-examine me in front of my bully. The University lawyer and the Disciplinary Committee also questioned me. I was asked about my feminist ideas and made to ‘explain myself’ for having the temerity to chair a meeting on women's rights. To this day, I am the only one who has had to answer any questions. 

  • I filed my student complaint on 1 February 2018.

  • The University of Bristol closed down the disciplinary procedures on 27 June 2019 “for reasons unrelated to the merits of the case”, providing no further explanation.

  • The University dismissed my student complaint on 19 December 2019. 

Throughout, the University insisted that it was paramount that I, along with my supervisors at the Centre for Gender and Violence Research, maintained confidentiality when faced with constant bullying. Almost two years later, they turned around and denied that any bullying took place. When they dismissed my student complaint in December 2019, the University argued that the purpose of confidentiality was to protect the bully. That meant that all along, I had to watch myself be publicly bullied and harassed by throngs of privileged, British students who were making a sport out of bullying an immigrant who had just arrived in the UK. The impact of this both on my health and my academic performance was severe. 

In the Autumn of 2019, I spoke about what had been happening to me for the first time and my story was featured both in The Sunday Times and the BBC’s Radio 4 Today Programme. At that point, the University of Bristol pressured me to suspend my studies on the basis that I was not making sufficient academic progress. 

I am deeply grateful to the Dominican Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology which has decided to fund me for another year, despite the considerable impact the bullying and this institutional process have had on my academic performance. I am equally grateful to the Centre for Gender and Violence Research at the University of Bristol which has shown me nothing but kindness and solidarity throughout this ordeal. The Head of the Centre for Gender and Violence Research has issued a public statement detailing the facts of this internal matter and condemning the University of Bristol’s handling of the process. You can read the public statement here.

I believe that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity when advocating for their political beliefs, regardless of disagreements. This democratic generosity was not extended to me, neither by the multiple students who have bullied, harassed and targeted me over the past two years, nor by the University of Bristol.

Unsurprisingly, trans activist students continue to target me, attempting to cancel feminist meetings I organise inside the University of Bristol, as recently as March 2020. This is not a healthy or humane learning environment for any student. The University’s actions are not only in contravention of their own institutional policies, but are also illegal.

The Case

I believe that the University’s failure to protect me is because they have a policy of not properly applying its disciplinary procedures against students who identify as trans rights activists. I am now preparing litigation against the University of Bristol for its failure to properly protect me from the bullying and harassment I have suffered. The legal breaches I am alleging are indirect sex discrimination (because most people who suffer this intimidation from trans activists are women, and therefore it is women who primarily suffer because of the University’s policy), unlawful victimisation under the Equality Act 2010, among others.

Bullying and harassment, particularly over such a sustained period of time, are dreadful experiences to go through and are highly detrimental to any academic environment where learning should thrive. I feel aghast by the eventuality that the University of Bristol would likely allow my experience to repeat itself, given that they do not perceive any wrongdoing on their part. Prospective female students, as well as international students, have the right to be aware of the two-tier system which operates within the University of Bristol. What is happening to me should not happen to any other student again. 

With this aim, I have instructed Peter Daly at Slater and Gordon to represent me. The immediate first step is to prepare a detailed Letter Before Claim and then, once we are in receipt of the University’s response to that letter, draft the claim itself.

I am told that cases such as this can cost in excess of £50,000. In order to get the case off the ground, I am initially seeking to raise £10,000, which will cover the initial costs I have incurred, the Letter Before Claim, the lodging of the claim itself and the initial stages of the litigation. Following that, I will need to pay for the case itself, and also raise money to ensure that I can pay the University’s costs in case I am not successful. There is no such thing as a guaranteed success in litigation, and although I have been told that my case is strong, there is a possibility that I might lose. I am litigating against a huge organisation with near enough limitless resources. 

Your support is crucial!

We were ready to launch this case just before the COVID-19 health crisis hit. I understand that these are challenging circumstances for all of us. Please feel free to donate to efforts to alleviate the effects of the crisis, which are undoubtedly more urgent. If you can contribute, I’d appreciate whatever you can donate to help fund my case. Please share this page among your network of colleagues, friends and family. 

My case is about how an elite university treats its students when nobody is watching and they believe that they’ll face no consequences. Therefore, this an academic issue. I would appreciate the support of everyone concerned about the intimidatory climate fomented by aggressive student activists, and the academic institutions which enable them.

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Update 8

Raquel Rosario Sánchez

Aug. 21, 2021

Costs and Case Management Conference on 5 August 2021

Dear everyone, 

Hope you are well.

We had a CCMC on 5 August. It was mostly focused on budgeting issues and other matters. The short summary is that our legal case is going well and I am very happy with how my lawyers and I are approaching everything. Since you are a donor with an interest in the case, I'll use bullet points to expand on some important issues you may want to know:

  • CCMC on 5 August 2021

The hearing was 40 minutes long. I was represented by my superb barrister and one of my brilliant solicitors was also present. Both women have done remarkable work and I am so grateful to have them on board. The University was represented by their barrister, an adult man who has decided to highlight the following paragraph as a professional achievement: "Paul deals with civil litigation against local authorities in relation to all sorts of powers. His main body of work in this area currently relates to claims brought by victims of childhood abuse and neglect who allege that social services authorities should have removed them from the source of harm earlier."

Our cost budget for the claim was a set sum of £107,434, allowing for the pre-action costs, disclosure, expert reports and other matters that have already been incurred and everything we are estimated to incur. The trial itself will be the biggest sum of money at about £18,000. 

Remember that we only have 2 witnesses (including me), while the University has previously said they would have up to 9 people testifying against me. I invite them to bring 100: these sort of scare tactics make me feel increasingly confident in our evidence.

  • Disclosure and Unless Order

As I have mentioned before, the University has throughout refused to provide disclosure. We did ours ages ago, but our lawyers had to spend both June and July incurring unnecessary costs asking the Defendant to provide theirs. At the last CMC we made a specific application and on 16 April 2021, were granted a Directions Order so the University should have complied. Instead, they ignored the court order, withheld disclosure, failed to serve a signed disclosure statement and made our lawyers spend two months requesting something that any Defendant who was confident in their case would volunteer willingly. 

Because of the paragraph above, we were left with no other choice than to apply for an Unless Order to force their hand. It stated that unless they serve comprehensive disclosure by a set date, the Defendant’s defence would be struck out, judgment would be entered in our favour, and the Defendant would be permitted to take no further part in the proceedings. Eventually, the University complied with a section of this but we still have to make more applications for specific disclosure because there are still massive gaps. Everything relating to this matter could have been avoided but the University's approach is to make everything as difficult as possible. I can't think of any reason why. 

  • Nondisclosure Agreements (NDAs) discussion

Recently, the feminist organisation FiLiA published a podcast I recorded with Dr Julie Macfarlane focusing on her groundbreaking work as an advocate for survivors of sexual violence and institutional abuse. Her campaigning resulted in a paradigm shift for Canadian courts. She has been selected as one of Canada’s 25 Most Influential Lawyers and in 2019, she received the Order of Canada. Professor Macfarlane recently published Going Public: A Survivors Journey from Grief to Action

This September, Dr Macfarlane, along with Zelda Perkins (a campaigner and the first woman to break her NDA with convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein), will launch a global campaign to ban NDAs. In our podcast, we discussed how an NDA represents a signed piece of paper used to gag victims and whistleblowers, but that a lot of silencing takes place through coercion. For example, around the same time I went public about this matter, in an exclusive for The Sunday Times, I had an email at the top of my inbox from the University's Director of Legal Services with the subject line "CONFIDENTIAL" (her caps).

The university gagged me for almost two years. Particularly, during the time that was most difficult for me: when I was being bullied, harassed and institutionally gaslighted as a newly arrived immigrant student in the UK. An array of the University's in-house lawyers insisted that I couldn't speak about what was happening, coercing both me and my supervisors to maintain confidentiality or else their "investigation" would be ruined. I am stating this because discussions around the corrosive nature of NDAs should remember that point and because a dear friend of mine recently commented that "it's great that the University has never gagged you" and I want to publicly disavow them of this delusion in case this myth was commonplace. I spoke out because I decided enough is enough. If it was up to the University of Bristol, I would still be silently traumatised or better yet, back in Santo Domingo.

  • Dr Anthony Maden

As you know, I am suing the University of Bristol for negligence, sex discrimination, unlawful victimisation, among other claims. In order to assess the negligence claim, both parties are required to submit expert reports. In Spring 2021, the University told the Court that their expert would be Dr Anthony Maden. We replied giving them an opportunity to reconsider this based on some elements of our case. According to some figures, there are at least 12,000 psychiatric experts currently active. Nevertheless, soon after, the University unceremoniously dismissed all our formal concerns by informing us that the one and only psychiatric expert in the whole United Kingdom who they though could help them win their case against me was Dr Maden. 

Coincidentally, this matter came up in the FiLiA Podcast with Dr Julie Macfarlane above. More information about this issue can be found here.

  • The University's Sanctions Against Me

Last month, the University made a unilateral decision to instigate a punitive process against me over what they consider to be an unsatisfactory lack of academic progress. I had zero input on this decision-making process and I am disappointed they unilaterally reached this outcome. As the University is well aware, there are tangible reasons outside of the scope of this legal case that explain why any student would struggle, and most importantly, there are issues directly relating to this litigation that legally compel them to make reasonable adjustment to help me so that I can successfully move forward, yet it has become evident that concern about the well being of students stops with me. At the same time that they were spending two months trying to bamboozle my lawyers and an actual Court by playing stupid games with an unsigned disclosure paper, they were refusing me any help or support. Apart from being potentially illegal and discriminatory, constituting further evidence for my case, I found this point to be aggravating.

As I mentioned in this Spanish interview from 7 June 2020, from the moment I filed my complaint, the University of Bristol has used our institutional relationship as weapon against me. I told journalist Ana de Blas, that at different points they have used a combination of threats, emotional blackmail and retaliation to punish me for bringing this case forward. I am not afraid of these people and I'm impervious to intimidation (hence why we're here). However, it is disheartening to see firsthand how the University of Bristol treats students who have the temerity to follow their own policies and reporting wrongdoing.

  • Is my legal case against the University of Bristol important? 

During the CCMC on 5 August, the University's barrister went on a stream of consciousness about how unimportant my case was because, he said, it didn't have a high monetary value. You will have noticed that the word "damages" does not appear anywhere on this CrowdJustice text, interview or any message I have ever written. That's on purpose. I didn't start litigation with an eye on money and I would find any insinuation of the sort to be immoral, unethical and deeply offensive. In my view and even though I obviously don't want to lose, a negative judgement is preferable to no judgement at all because this case helps clarify the position I, and every other student experiencing what I have experienced, are in. 

Nevertheless, the University's barrister tried to convince the judge of the lack of importance of our case based on how little, according to him, I could claim back in damages and costs if I were to win. I expected nothing less from him so I was not surprised by his monologue. However, I have been taken aback recently by a number of conversations I've had with people "on our side" who tried to convince me of the exact same point that Mr Stagg was arguing to the judge. I won't expand on this but I've found that lack of confidence and support from people I used to trust to be unexpected and hurtful. 

So I went into that CCMC not feeling particularly great and somewhat deflated. However, in the mother of all plot twists, after my barrister challenged every argument the University's lawyer made, the judge said that my case was important not because of the quantum I could recover but because of the nature of the case and its wide-reaching ramifications. Before August 5th, if I had to make a list of who I would expect to make that point, a judge would not even be on the list so that was a very pleasant surprise. As a donor, I hope you find that as reassuring as I have.

As always, thank you to my three lawyers for their impressive legal expertise, thorough support and for always advising me based on what they consider to be my best interests. I'd like to thank my family and loved ones for their unwavering encouragement. Even through we are 6,846 kilometres apart, I would not be able to take this on if I didn't have the emotional stability they provide. 

Thank you to all of you who have sent encouragement and donated to the case. Despite the fact that this update is very long and kind of grim, I feel very happy with where we are right now and I think we should all feel positive moving forward. 

Best, 

Raquel

Update 7

Raquel Rosario Sánchez

March 14, 2021

New Crowdjustice Page

Dear everyone, 

Hope you are well. 

As I mentioned in my last update, following a change in law firms by my solicitor, I've had to close my previous Crowdjustice page and create a new one to redirect funds to the right place. Both pages are crowdfunding for the same legal challenge against the University of Bristol. The new page, so you can continue donating and spreading the word around, is this: 

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/bullying-and-harassment-enable-bristol-university/

Please visit the new page for updates on the case from now on. As always, thank you all very much for your interest in our collective fight in support of both women's rights and academic freedom.

Best, 

Raquel


Update 6

Raquel Rosario Sánchez

March 5, 2021

Closing this CrowdJustice Page

Dear everyone. 

Hope you are well. 

This week, one of my lawyers listed here has moved to a new law firm. CrowdJustice requires that you set up a new page to list the new law firm and close the previous page in order to redirect the funding to the correct place. 

Therefore, this page will close very soon. I will update you on new developments for my legal case against the University of Bristol and redirect you to the new page so people can continue donating next week. 

As always, thank you all very much for your interest in my case and to those who have donated so far.

Best,

Raquel

Update 5

Raquel Rosario Sánchez

Oct. 6, 2020

An update on the delays by the University of Bristol



Dear everyone, 

Hope you are well. 

As I wrote in my last update, the University of Bristol requested an extension to their previous extension request. They decided to lodge their defence, and have added some other documents which they feel they want to lodge at this point. 

I will keep you updated if they engage in more delaying tactics moving forward. 

When we go to court, we will all witness the lengths that a Top 10 University is willing to go in order to avoid responsibility for their own institutional failures. Particularly, regarding a matter that the University assumed would be buried a long time ago. 

As always, thank you for your words of kindness about my case, which touches on broader issues regarding the rights of students and academic freedom. Perhaps because I am an international student, my case has received a lot of interest from outside of the UK. I apologise if I haven't had time to respond to your emails or messages yet. I'll get to them in a bit!

Although it is challenging to be at the receiving end of these tactics by an institution which, to this day, continues to have a duty of care to me, I am so happy and excited to let you know that my PhD is finally moving along nicely! This is, no doubt, thanks to the support and solidarity which I have received throughout from everyone within the Centre for Gender and Violence Research. I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to them for standing by me. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my lawyers, and everyone at Slater and Gordon who is working with me to ensure that this case reaches a successful outcome. 

I will keep you updated on any developments moving forward. 

Best, 

Raquel


Update 4

Raquel Rosario Sánchez

Aug. 7, 2020

The University has requested an extension to their previous extension request

Dear everyone, 

Hope you are well. 

Thank you all very much for your support throughout, and over these past couple of days. I want to let you know about a dynamic going on behind the scenes with respect to my case against the University of Bristol. 

As some of you may recall, on 18 June 2020, we filed my Letter Before Claim asking for a response within 28 days. The University ignored my first email asking if they would meet this request, eventually informing us they wanted an extension. This week, they informed me they would use a further extension to that extension, citing the same type of excuses they have been telling me since last summer.

It is possible that, in other cases, this is irrelevant. But in my case, the impact of the sustained pattern of endless dithering and delays by the University of Bristol plays a very particular role. Please keep in mind that I filed my student complaint against targeting by trans activist students two weeks after starting my PhD programme, on 1 February 2018. After encouraging me, throughout, to engage with their internal process, it took until 19 December 2019 for the University to close it; blaming me for its failure and criticising me for the impact it had on my academic performance and my health. 

The University has been aware that their treatment of me could unfortunately lead to litigation since, at least, October 2019. Most of the breaches in University policy and UK law that I am claiming in my case, has been committed by the Secretary's Office. The Secretary's Office is tasked with writing University policy, and is comprised mostly of a large team of lawyers. With respect to my particular case, the University has hired two separate external law firms over the past 10 months to represent them (first Burges Salmon and now DAC Beachcroft). Plainly speaking, I find it impossible to believe that none of these people have though this through.

I am an international student, on a scholarship. Therefore, my time is quite limited and the scholarship which funds my studies hinges on me having a humane academic environment which is, at the very least, free from abuse. The University of Bristol is an elite institution with near limitless resources and zero time constrains. My case is about how I have been targeted with bullying, harassment and unnaceptable behaviour by fellow students, inside and outside of the institution, starting on January 2018 and up until July 2020 (so far). Within this environment, it is interesting that the deadlines for my academic matters remain rigid, while the University of Bristol has taken the liberty to needlessly delay any sort of resolution for the past 2 years and 8 months of my life, as punishment for my feminist principles. 

Every single time the University informs me they will delay or further extend any bit of this process, I will post it as an update on my CrowdJustice page. I feel a duty to inform you all of the developments of my case, given that it is funded by members of the public. 

As for the University of Bristol, I can't think of any good reason why it is taking dozens of lawyers so long to prepare a defense against me. Particularly, given how confident the University came across when it dismissed my student complaint on 11 November 2019, and when they upheld this decision on 19 December 2019. Perhaps they could just 'copy and paste' it? Anything the University of Bristol was happy to say to a distraught international student whose abuse they facilitated over the span of nearly two years, they should be equally happy to repeat and justify in court. 

I will keep you all updated on any new developments. 

Best,

Raquel

Update 3

Raquel Rosario Sánchez

Aug. 2, 2020

Another social media push!

Dear everyone, 

Hope you are all doing well.

I am making another push for my CrowdJustice fundraiser on my case against the University of Bristol. As with all legal issues, preparing a case is expensive. My case is about how an elite institution treats its students when nobody is watching. We are claiming negligence, indirect sex discrimination, unlawful victimisation by the University of Bristol, among others.

Sadly, instead of things becoming easier for me, the targeting by trans activist students inside the University of Bristol has continued. This is not surprising given the climate fomented by the institution, and it means that the timeline of incidents for my case has now been stretched from January 2018 to July 2020 (so far). This latest incident is by a male student with a track record of threatening behaviour towards women during feminist events, inside of the university campus, who has been enabled by senior management.

I was wondering if you could share my CrowdJustice page with your network of colleagues, friends and family and ask if they could please donate. Given that this is an academic issue, this is specially true if they are somewhat connected to academia, or concerned about the rights of students (including international students since we have little to no support when starting studies abroad) within academic institutions.

I understand that things could be difficult at the moment, so regardless of whether you can donate to my case, I would like to ask you to please share far and wide in your social media platforms so that people who are in a position to donate can be alerted to this effort. Spreading this on social media is fundamental, so I would very much appreciate your support with that:  https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/bullying-and-harassment-permit-bristol-university/

I am grateful to every single one of you who has helped me get closer and closer to my stretch target. As always and equally important, I thank you all very much for all your words of kindness and solidarity throughout this challenging process.

Best,
Raquel

Update 2

Raquel Rosario Sánchez

July 9, 2020

Claim filed on 18 June 2020!

Dear everyone,

Hope you are all staying safe and healthy.

I want to let you know that on 18 June 2020 we lodged my claim against the University of Bristol in  court. We also submitted my Letter Before Claim. From that point on, the University has 28 days to respond with their justification of their actions or lack of actions.


No student ever dreams of being in a position of having to sue their own academic institution. I imagine this is particularly true for international students, who fly across the world in the hopes of a more enriching and innovative academic experience than we could find back home. After two years of being compliant with an internal process that was thoughtless towards me, and while witnessing the neglect with which the University of Bristol was violating my rights, sadly I have been left with no choice but to take legal action.

I am grateful to every single one of you who has helped me get closer and closer to my stretch target, so that I can fund my case. I am equally grateful to everyone who has sent me messages of kindness, support and solidarity from around the world. In the aftermath of such a profoundly isolating experience, it is heartening to know that most people are keen to uphold both women's rights and academic freedom. And are appalled by the democratic decay which is being fomented inside the most elite academic institutions in the United Kingdom.

Thank you all very much for your support. I will keep you updated with new developments as things progress, going forward.

Best,
Raquel


Ps. In light of the unnaceptable manner that the Crowdjustice team has treated Allison Bailey, a fierce defender of women's rights who I hold in such high regard, I ask if you could please not tip Crowdjustice when making further donations. Women are being forced to endure discriminatory treatment due to a hostile environment, and a lack of choices. Like you, I await clarification on this matter. In the meantime, I am considering my options. 

Update 1

Raquel Rosario Sánchez

May 21, 2020

We reached our initial target in less than a 24 hours!

I am overwhelmed with gratitude seeing the responses to my Crowdjustice appeal. We set an initial target of £10,000 and reached it in less than a day.

This has been an organic, grassroots effort, lead by people sharing this fundraising page mainly on social media and among their private networks of colleagues, friends and family. The average donation has been £25. We have had no media coverage yet, meaning that the driving force behind this campaign has been the energy and determination of people eager to uphold both women's rights and academic freedom. 

As you can see from this detailed account, this situation has taken a long time. I have found this process both painful and dehumanising. To go through this as an international student with no network in this country, all because of my feminist conviction, has been profoundly isolating. I draw strength from the kindness and solidarity of all the people who have donated, so far. And most importantly, from the support of the people who have sent messages of encouragement. 

Thank you to everyone for helping me reach my target in only one day – an incredible response and I am very grateful.  My lawyers have confirmed today that work is now underway on the initial steps of the case, and I will give more updates as and when I am able to do so.

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