University of Sussex welcomes first female VC, Prof Sasha Roseneil

Professor Sasha Roseneil, an internationally recognised social scientist, takes up her new role following a controversial end to her tenure at UCL

Professor Sasha Roseneil has taken up the post of vice-chancellor at the University of Sussex, following the announcement of her appointment in January.

The first woman to serve in the role, she has won international recognition during more than 30 years of pioneering research on gender, sexuality and intimate life, and on citizenship, social movements and social change.

“Sussex is a radically global university with a distinguished track record of groundbreaking research that aims to make the world a more equitable place,” said a “hugely excited” Roseneil as she started her new job.

“In scientific discovery and artistic endeavour, developing global policy and pushing forward technological innovation, people within the Sussex community are making a crucial difference to humanity, now and for the future.”

Roseneil becomes the University of Sussex VC following a controversial end to her tenure as University College London’s pro vice-provost for equity and inclusion.

We need to go further in ensuring that all who can benefit, whatever their background, are able to experience the transformative power of HE – Prof Sasha Roseneil

In January, The Tab claimed that it had a recording of her saying “Maybe there were people voting on transphobic grounds,” following the December 2021 vote by UCL’s senior committees not to rejoin LGBT+ charity, Stonewall.

Others at the meeting reportedly condemned Roseneil’s comments as “blasé” and “disgusting”.

Now she has assumed the role of VC at the university where Professor Kathleen Stock resigned her post in October 2021 after her position on trans issues drew storms of protest on campus.

Before working at UCL, Roseneil was executive dean of the faculty of social sciences at the University of Essex, and held leadership positions at Birkbeck, University of London and the University of Leeds.

She takes over as University of Sussex VC from Professor David Maguire, who had been the university’s interim vice-chancellor since Professor Adam Tickell stepped down at the end of last year.

“Sussex has inclusivity at our heart, and I am committed to embedding this spirit even further,” she added. “Only in a richly inquisitive environment which fully embraces diversity of thought and opinion, background and identity, and in which everyone has a voice and a welcomed place, can learning and discovery truly thrive.

“Universities must continue to open our doors to a wider pool of students. We need to go further in ensuring that all who can benefit, whatever their background, are able to experience the transformative power of higher education.”

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