Student who said 'women have vaginas' cleared by university over misconduct charges

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Undated handout photo of law student Lisa Keogh who has been cleared of misconduct charges after was placed under investigation when she said women have vaginas and are weaker than men. Issue date: Wednesday June 9, 2021.
Lisa Keogh who has been cleared of misconduct charges. (PA)

A law student who was investigated by university bosses after she said women have vaginas and are weaker than men has been cleared of misconduct charges.

Lisa Keogh, 29, was investigated after classmates complained she said “the difference in physical strength of men versus women is a fact”.

She made the comments during a seminar on gender, feminism and the law at Abertay University, Dundee, and said she faced a flurry of abuse from her classmates.

Ms Keogh has now been cleared after a letter from the university stated the charges would not be upheld due to “insufficient evidence” to support the allegations.

She said she was “overjoyed” about the decision – but added it was cruel of university bosses to draw out the process for two months while she was taking her final exams.

Lisa Keogh made the comments during a seminar on gender, feminism and the law at Abertay University, Dundee. (Flickr)
Lisa Keogh made the comments during a seminar on gender, feminism and the law at Abertay University, Dundee. (Flickr)

The letter from the university to Ms Keogh read: “On reviewing the evidence available, including witness statements, class recordings and chat transcript, the board found no evidence that you had discriminated against another member of the university, the board found that you had not intentionally shouted in class.”

Following the ruling, Ms Keogh said: “As overjoyed as I am about this decision, I am saddened that I went through this at such a critical time in my university career.

“The very end of my period at Abertay is now tarnished with these bad memories and I worry that my final grades will have been affected by this.

“I will not feel comfortable attending any graduation event.”

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Ms Keogh said the investigation had been an “ordeal” and urged the university to “not put other students through a similar ordeal just for voicing their opinions”.

In a statement, the university said the allegations were not in relation to her personal opinions, but to alleged behaviour in class, including in some online breakout rooms. 

A spokesperson said: “As we have previously stated, the University is legally obliged to investigate all complaints. This does not mean every element of a 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.

“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."

Minister for women and equalities Liz Truss previously defended free speech in response to Ms Keogh's comments.

She told LBC: "I think we need to uphold our very, very important tradition of free speech."

MP Joanna Cherry, who had supported Ms Keogh during the investigation, said: "I’m pleased at this outcome.

“But Lisa should never have been put through this ordeal in the first place and the university should review its free speech and equality policies to make sure that future students are not subject to the stress of spurious complaints nor discriminated against, harassed or victimised for their beliefs.”

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