AN ARTIST is threatening legal action against a university that 'postponed' her talk after students accused her of holding transphobic views.

Rachel Ara, who is considering suing Oxford Brookes University, has launched an online campaign 'University Challenged' – a play on the popular quiz show – which aims to 'fight for academic freedom of speech to discuss sex and gender'.

On the site, Ms Ara says she was invited to give a guest lecture to Fine Art students in November, and had planned to talk about 'feminist issues in relation to [her] art and the challenges that women face building larger scale works'.

But she said the day the lecture was due to take place she was contacted to say it was cancelled, following 'hostile social media tweets' targeting her as a transphobic figure - claims Ms Ara 'strongly rejects'.

Writing on her crowdfunding page, MS Area said: "The fact that a University could be so quickly swayed into cancelling an academic event was shocking to me. I had always assumed Universities to be neutral facilitators of controversial academic discussions in the public interest.

On the campaign's Twitter page that is set out to 'get trans activism out of Uni policies and sector, allowing critical research to happen', the artist attacks Oxford Brookes' Transgender and Gender Identity Equality policy.

With 17 days to go, Ms Ara has raised £6,320 for her case.

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With the funds from the campaign, she has engaged the services of a London-based solicitor, Paul Conrathe at Sinclairs Law firm.

Mr Ara confirmed that Mr Conrathe has been in contact with Oxford Brookes regarding the issue, however the university denied calling off the artist's talk because of alleged transphobia.

The university said the event was 'postponed', not cancelled, as it was not booked through the usual process for confirming external speakers.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail, Ms Ara said she is currently weighing up her options and considering taking legal action against the university.

She said she has received 'masses and masses' of support for her campaign and that, depending on advice from her lawyer, she may take Oxford Brookes to court.

The artist is also demanding that her invitation to speak at the university is reinstated within three months and that Oxford Brookes amends its policies that 'restrict academic freedom'.

Ms Ara said: "It doesn't matter what your position is, universities have to be free for people to discuss anything.

"It's about freedom of speech".

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She called the outcry in November 'silly' and said this was 'just a couple of kids screaming'.

The artist added: "It's ridiculous – it stemmed only from liking a tweet".

The event was called off after Oxford Brookes LGBTQ+ society sent a letter to the university's pro-vice chancellor, professor Anne-Marie Kilday, condemning the invitation to the artist to speak at the university because of her alleged transphobic views.

"Rachel Ara is a trans exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) who frequently shares transphobic discourse on her social media.

"She has openly showed support for the "LGB Alliance" which is openly transphobic and seeks to isolate trans people within the LGBTQ+ movement."

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After the artist's talk was postponed, a letter signed by 20 researchers, professors and lecturers was sent to The Times newspaper on December 10 defending Ms Ara's views.

The letter also criticised the leading LGBTQ rights charity Stonewall of suppressing academic freedom.

Academics who signed the letter included Professor Selina Todd, Doctor Michael Biggs and Professor Deborah Cameron from University of Oxford.

When contacted by the Oxford Mail for a comment, Oxford Brookes sent the same statement as it submitted back in November.

A spokesperson said: "Oxford Brookes is an open environment where academic freedom and freedom of speech are fundamental to our functioning, including debate and the challenging of views.

"Within this context and our statutory duties, visiting speakers are offered the same freedom of speech within the law as staff and students."

Mr Conrathe at Sinclairs Law has been contacted for a comment.