Our public challenge of Professor Sarah Niblock, Head of Journalism, Brunel University

We recently posted a piece about Julie Bindel being the current ‘journalist-in-residence’ at Brunel University, where female postgraduate engineering students are eligible for an addition £15,000 p.a. on the grounds of the gender alone:


In the piece we linked to the university’s profile of Professor Sarah Niblock, Head of Journalism. Now this is a woman who has no reservations about posting opinions online. With reference to the appointment of Julie Bindel, on the Brunel university website http://www.brunel.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/news-items/ne_330620 we find the following:

Brunel’s Head of Journalism Sarah Niblock welcomed the appointment: “Julie is a phenomenal journalist who never ceases to bring tough social affairs stories to the forefront of the news agenda. She combines the research acumen of a sociologist with the news sense, policy know-how and editorial rigour of a reporter.”

“Our students find her passion for her subject matter infectious, and they can’t wait to work with her,” she added.

We emailed Ms Niblock with the following:

Sarah, good evening. Swayne O’Pie and I are going to debate with Julie Bindel and Cindy Gallop at Durham University next Friday evening, and I was interested to read that Ms Bindel is currently your ‘journalist-in-residence’. I don’t know if you’re aware that female engineering postgraduate engineering students at Brunel University are eligible for an additional £15,000 p.a. grant on account of their gender alone (link below). Do you support this move, and if so, could you explain to me why this country specifically needs more female engineers? Thank you.


We’ve just received the following response:


Sorry but I can’t comment on Brunel University policies so I am directing this to our press office.

Have a good debate on Friday.

Best wishes,


It hardly needs pointing out that we hadn’t asked her to ‘comment on Brunel University policies’. We’d asked her for her opinions, something she was keen to reveal publicly in the case of the appointment of a prominent gender feminist journalist to the position of ‘journalist-in-residence’.

We consider her response to be so pathetic and evasive (even by feminist standards) that we have little option but to make our two simple questions – does she support the additional £15,000 p.a. grant for women alone, and if so, why does the country specifically need more female engineers? – the subject of a new public challenge. In the unlikely event we receive a substantive response from her, we’ll publish it.

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