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Academic Tweets ‘White Lives Don’t Matter,’ Then Receives Threats; Says University Just Promoted Her To Full Professorship
Kings College, Cambridge is pictured deserted due to the coronavirus outbreak. Cambridge University has announced that there will be no face-to-face lectures over the course of the next 2020/2021 academic year due to COVID-19.
Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

On Tuesday, an academic who teaches at the University of Cambridge precipitated outrage when she tweeted, “I’ll say it again. White Lives Don’t Matter. As white lives.”

Dr. Priyamvada Gopal later followed with a tweet that said succinctly, “Abolish whiteness.”

Gopal was barraged with threats and invective after her statements, and Twitter required her to remove the first post.

On Wednesday night, she announced that the university had promoted her to a full professorship.

Gopal, 51, teaches in the Faculty of English at Churchill College, and after her Twitter post Tuesday night, a petition was launched titled “Fire Cambridge Professor for Racism” on

On Wednesday Gopal stated on Twitter: “I would also like to make clear I stand by my tweets, now deleted by Twitter, not me. They were very clearly speaking to a structure and ideology, not about people. My Tweet said whiteness is not special, not a criterion for making lives matter. I stand by that.”

The university backed Gopal and attacked those who targeted her, stating, “The University defends the right of its academics to express their own lawful opinions which others might find controversial and deplores in the strongest terms abuse and personal attacks. These attacks are totally unacceptable and must cease.”

The Cambridge branch of the University and College Union (UCU) echoed, “Solidarity with Priyamvada Gopal — being targeted with vile sexist and racist abuse for speaking up against white supremacists. We are proud to be your colleagues both on the picket line and off it. BlackLivesMatterSolidarity.”

In contrast to its reaction to Gopal’s tweet, Cambridge University rescinded a visiting fellowship invitation to Jordan Peterson in March last year for being photographed next to a man in a T-shirt reading “I’m a proud Islamophobe.”

Last week, Gopal claimed she had been the victim of “consistently racist profiling and aggression by porters” at Kings College, and thus would “supervise students” there no more. Saying she was doing so “on my behalf and of other people of colour,” she added:

With deep regret but with 17 years of consideration behind it, I have finally decided on my behalf & of other people of colour @Cambridge_Uni to refuse to supervise any students at @Kings_College. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH of the consistently racist profiling & aggression by Porters … It’s for the students that over the years I’ve hesitated to take this decision. But I think it’s come to point where it is for students, BAME students who’ve shared their Kings stories with me, that I must do it. Oh and today, I repeatedly asked them to address me as ‘Dr. Gopal’ and repeatedly failed to get them to address me as anything other than ‘madam.’

A King’s College spokesperson responded, “We have investigated the incident and found no wrongdoing on the part of our staff. Every visitor was asked to show their card during the course of that day, as the College was closed to everyone except King’s members. Non-members such as Dr. Gopal were asked to take alternatives routes, around the College. This was a matter of procedure, not discrimination. King’s College is a rich and diverse community, and take the wellbeing of its students and staff extremely seriously. We remain committed to being an inclusive and welcoming environment in which to work and study. We categorically deny that the incident referred to was in any way racist.’

Gopal is no admirer of Piers Morgan or President Trump; after an interview Morgan conducted, she tweeted, “Let me take this in: Piers Morgan, newly right-on, but known worshipper of the Orange Hellbeast, has a problem with ‘aggression.’ Okay.”

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