Universities UK’s external speakers guidance does not promote gender segregation – it highlights universities’ legal obligations

Last Friday (22 November 2013) Universities UK, the representative organisation for the UK’s universities, published guidance to assist universities in managing controversial external speaker events on campus. This is a complex area involving a wide range of legislation from equalities law through to criminal law and the duty to protect the safety of university staff, students and visitors.

Universities are autonomous institutions and will make decisions on each individual event independently. The guidance was published to help universities navigate their legal obligations and their practical application.

Since its publication, there has been some public debate on a small component of the guidance: a hypothetical case study (p.27) in which an external speaker on faith in the modern world requests that the audience is segregated according to gender. The case study reflects the challenges of accommodating everyone’s views, from those whose religious beliefs require them to sit separately with their own gender, to those who wish to sit with the opposite gender – hence the mixed seating alternative which is part of the solution in this case study. The issue is how to ensure that no one is unlawfully excluded from the event.

Much of the discussion has reduced our practical advice on what is a highly complex issue to a debate about the rights or wrongs of gender segregation. The guidance is not about the rights or wrongs of segregating an event by gender. Instead, it highlights the legal and other factors that universities must consider if they are addressing the particular circumstances outlined in this case study. The guidance does not promote gender segregation.

Universities have a vital role to play in securing free speech and promoting debate. This practical guidance has been developed to ensure that as many debates as possible on sensitive and emotive issues can continue to take place. By promoting free speech and open debate the rights or wrongs of gender segregation can be challenged and discussed.

Nicola Dandridge

About Nicola Dandridge

Chief Executive of Universities UK.
This entry was posted in About Higher Education, About Universities UK and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

178 Responses to Universities UK’s external speakers guidance does not promote gender segregation – it highlights universities’ legal obligations

  1. How are people “unlawfully excluded from the event” if the university refuses to permit gender segregation? They are still free to attend the event. They can get there on a bus with no gender segregation, or walking down streets with no gender segregation.

  2. Robert Wittams says:

    This is ridiculous. Replace gender with race in this blog post. Read it back to yourself. Now hang your head in shame. Some things are not worth being sensitive about – and one of them is the bigoted worldview of bigoted guest speakers.

    • Crip Dyke says:

      @Robert Wittams

      Bar organisations and individuals that
      fail to abide with the university’s values
      from booking facilities in future

      You are forgetting that they refuse to have people who “fail to abide with the university’s values”.

      The only logical conclusion is that in the eyes of Universities UK, gender apartheid “abides with the university’s values” quite often enough to create a block worthy of speaking to about such issues.

      Also, when they speak to that block about such issues, one notes that their speech does not include:

      You know, we’ve had rather a go about gender apartheid in the UK specifically and Europe generally, and it has gone on for quite a lot of time. We’ve heard the “God doesn’t want you to mix with men at the polling places”. We’ve heard the “provocative dress makes me rape you, the logical conclusion being you hussies just need to cover up”. We’ve heard, “It’s for your own good”. Just about any perspective from which it is possible to advocate gender apartheid has been articulated. So perhaps, just perhaps, after all these centuries of discussion, we might – just might – have enough collective intelligence and information contained within an institution of higher learning to have already determined a proper response to a speaker’s insistence on gender apartheid that includes: go away. And if you, as a center for learning and thought, can’t manage to say that, perhaps you might consider whether you are, in fact, a center for learning and thought.

    • janekelly507 says:

      They are not backing down from this rubbish are they?

  3. This ‘guidance’ – and your declaration of support for it above – are nonsense. Requiring audience members who attend a public debate or event to sit in areas delimited by gender does nothing but force people into segregation. No speaker has the right to force the audience at a public event to bow to their religious wishes – the speaker may well choose to sit only next to men, but the University has no right to force the rest of us to act in support of his pre-1900’s beliefs! He can choose to behave in whatever (legal) manner he desires, but he has no right to force his archaic beliefs onto other people. This policy should be changed immediately, and I strongly suggest you rethink your support.

  4. Really? You’re not allowing me to post a comment asking if you would make the same argument about racial segregation? It’s a civil question, and a reasonable one.

    I’ll ask it again. Suppose “gender” is changed to “race/racial”.

    “an external speaker on faith in the modern world requests that the audience be segregated according to race. The case study reflects the challenges of accommodating everyone’s views, from those whose religious beliefs require them to sit separately with their own race, to those who wish to sit with the opposite race – hence the mixed seating alternative which is part of the solution in this case study. The issue is how to ensure that no one is unlawfully excluded from the event.”

    Would you make that argument?

    • You are right, Ophelia. I have lived in South Africa since the days of Apartheid, and this is nothing but gender Apartheid. What has become of British universities?

    • Oli says:

      As rediculous as this policy is it doesnt say race so lets stick to the argument based on the fact that it says gender. On second thoughts why not exchange ‘according to gender’ for ‘according to whether they like bananas’.

  5. Chris Moos says:

    What hypocrites. Universities UK now say they don’t “promote” gender segregation. Nobody said they promote it – condoning, legitimising, accommodating, allowing, facilitating, endorsing, tolerating, accepting is just about enough.

    They say this is only a “hypothetical case study” – yet it does give clear instructions on what universities should do to accommodate gender segregation.

    They say they are trying to “accommodate everyone’s views” – even those that force people to reveal their gender and take away their basic right of choice where to sit in a public institution.

    They say there is “a mixed seating alternative which is part of the solution in this case study” – yet they specifically – and incredibly – state that a mixed seating area might actually be unlawful.

    What a pathetic attempt to defend an even more pathetic and dangerous document.

    • Why are we talking about this at all, it seems incredible that is should even be mentioned. People in this country are free to sit where they like in lecture halls. If you don’t like women don’t sit with them. what is it about Islam that people, particularly on the left, turn into lick spittles?

      • Richard Greenyer says:

        This fear of being called racist or “islamophobic” is why there has not been one prosecution for female genital mutilation. This is why, when 15-year-old white schoolgirl runs off to France with a teacher, the story leads the news, but when the parents of a Pakistani girl pull their daughter from class and force her to marry an old man —that is, when they organise her abduction and rape— liberal society stays silent. I should not need to add that multiculturalists who deny rights to people on the grounds of their ethnicity are every bit as racist as the white supremacists they profess to oppose.

  6. Jill Tupper says:

    A mixed area is not the answer if there are areas exclusive by gender. Try the thought experiment of substituting race, disability, sexuality in place of gender. Hmm.

  7. Apparently certain Muslims believe that the sexes should be segregated at meetings and lectures. If that’s what they want then they can sit separately from the other sex. However why should I, a non-Muslim, have to sit separately from my wife, my daughter, or any other woman who should happen to be at a lecture? I should not have to abide by a particular religious obligation (one which many Muslims don’t feel is required) when I’m not a follower of that religion.

  8. What this really means is that the progress down the slippery slope to sharia is accelerating pushed along by PC dhimmis of the UUK. (My spell checker hilariously insists that should be YUK).

  9. James says:

    The issue is how to ensure that no one is unlawfully excluded from the event.

    Is this really an issue?

    Has there ever been any public event in the UK, whether at a university or elsewhere, after which the host has been prosecuted, or threatened with prosecution, because they refused to segregate the audience by gender?

    If such a case exists, point your critics to it and I’m sure they’ll shift focus and pressure parliament to amend the law so you don’t have to worry.

    If you’re not aware of such a case, presumably qualified legal experts (you’ll find plenty in the law departments of your members) advised UUK that such a prosecution was possible.

    If such advice exists, publish it. Again, the heat will come off and people will start attacking the root cause of the problem – the bad law.

    If there’s no such case, and there’s no legal basis for believing there might ever be such a case, surely the best guidance to your members on this issue is that they are not in danger of unlawfully excluding anyone by denying a request for gender segregation.

  10. Emma says:

    The guidance document states clearly that any decision on an external speaker request should take into account whether the speaker has agreed to abide by the institution’s values. Surely any speaker who requires the audience to be segregated by gender is not abiding by the values of any educational institution in the UK?

    I’ve read the guidance document in full, and I still believe that some of the argumentation in the case study is incompatible with the values of any modern, democratic society. Thus, the controversy over the case study is entirely merited. One point in the case study appears to make the argument that religious beliefs (in this case a belief in segregation by gender) trump non-religious beliefs (that segregation by gender is wrong) if the religious beliefs are “genuinely held”. There is an implication that any genuinely held belief is more valid if it is religious than if it is not. I hardly need to point out the discriminatory nature of such argumentation.

    • M'thew says:

      My question would be what “genuinely held belief” actually is. By what rules is a belief determined to be held genuinely? Really, what does the word “genuinely” even mean in this context? That the harder one can shout about his/her belief, the more genuinely it is held? I guess all the people who protested The Satanic Verses or the Danish cartoons can be said to genuinely hold their belief, but caving in to their demands is not going to help us any further.

      Seeing as humanity has a whole hoard of conflicting “genuinely held beliefs”, that phrase needs to be done away with asap.

      • Georgi ( London Atheist Activist Group) says:

        These idiotic phrases and concepts that get people kowtowing and losing all reason should be derided from a great height. Consign ‘PC’ while we’re at it, and lets have SR social responsibility instead i.e. the opposite of what is being proposed here. “Genuinely held belief” just means “I really really really believe it, but don’t ask me to justify it or I’ll claim persecution”. Should we now also give in to astrologers who “genuinely believe”?

  11. Kristin Nelson says:

    UK Universities have a duty to promote the human rights of all students. Your organization is abdicating your responsibility to young Muslim women by allowing them to be discriminated against and controlled by the misogynist speakers and men who run these University groups. Please read this piece by a young British Muslim women about how the British educational system has already betrayed her by not protecting her human rights from the inherent discrimination of sex segregation.

    As she says, “For years I have witnessed institutions and statutory agencies, while breaking their backs to respect ‘cultural sensitivities,’ will happily do so while making martyrs out of ethnic and religious minority women.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/segregating-men-and-women-at-university-events-wont-lead-to-equality-8962984.html

  12. If your religious beliefs require that you don’t interact with a large segment of the population, then the sensible thing to do is stay home.

  13. Jayne Hunter says:

    Honestly, this is shameful, and I’m completely baffled that you can’t seem to understand why. I just can’t believe that this can happen in England, just can’t believe it. Shame on you, Shame. Jayne Hunter

  14. razmatronix says:

    The foreword suggests the guidance was not simply about the legal framework but also about its practical application. The booklet clearly states that it would be practically acceptable for gender segregation (though not racial segregation as this falls foul of the law – although if it didn’t, then the same logic would apply and this presumably would also be practically acceptable?)

    It also uses the disingenuous phrase “genuinely-held religious beliefs”. Perhaps someone from UUK can explain how the additional qualifier “religious” gives it further weight than simply “genuinely-held beliefs”. Also, why can’t genuinely-held non-religious beliefs be considered?

    • Crip Dyke says:

      “genuinely held” is a legal hedge that is inserted simply to defeat con artists who clearly don’t believe in something from benefitting from the assertion that they believe it. Beyond that, it has no value.

      Religious is in there b/c there is a legal duty to accommodate religion, but not to accommodate ideology. “Free exercise of religion” is a thing. “free exercise of ideology” isn’t. Again, it has specific legal import.

      That said, and IA(ALS)NAL (but my studies are also in Canada where we study UK law, but not closely), It’s clear that they aren’t saying in the document that there’s a legal duty to segregate in these situations identified in UK law.

      Therefore, if they aren’t doing **because** of legal duty, but merely are suggesting that the principles behind the laws governing religious freedom in the UK create a reason to be more deferential to a religious point of view, they’re engaging in sloppy thinking. In law, there’s illegal discrimination, there are legal policies and actions, and in between? Nothing.

      If you want to say that it’s cheaper to segregate than to defend the number of lawsuits they expect, then they need to get an economist into the mix and make that argument.

      If they just wanna say that when people say, “I have an idea: Gender Apartheid!” the reasonable response is to ask if the person really, really wants to implement GA or is only trolling, and then to tell the GA advocates, “Oh, well if you really, really actually want GA, then that’s fine,” …

      …well, I think that’s a horrible thing to advocate.

  15. Simon says:

    What absolute nonsense.

    Firstly, why should the wishes of the speaker, or possibly some of the audience, overrule everyone else? The vast majority of people in UK want unsegregated seating.

    The “in the interests of free-speech” claim is a red herring. Nobody is prevented from speaking at an event because an audience is unsegregated. If they don’t want to, that’s their problem. If a speaker insists on the venue being painted in gold-leaf, are they also granted that wish in respect of their rights?

    We don’t get to impose our personal views on other people. How could that possibly work, unless certain people are granted a special privilege?

    In any case, there is nothing to stop people of the same gender sitting together. They have exactly the same opportunity to sit together as people of different genders do.

    What does segregated seating mean anyway, if everyone is sitting in the same room? Is there some official rule on the distance between people that determines that they are “segregated”. I think not. And what is the reasoning behind wanting it? What’s going to happen, or not happen, if an audience is segregated as opposed to unsegregated?

  16. Mike Smart says:

    I ploughed through the “External speakers in higher education institutions” report, and I definitely learnt something new today. But I learnt that the guidance is shot through with fear of being seen to make even a small, technical, (and probably un-actionable) breach of section 43. The end result with the case study 2 is that human rights and human dignity are thrown under the bus.

    Don’t try to minimise the error by pretending that a central case study, condensed apparently out of so much expertise, is just a “small component” and “hypothetical”.

  17. Baffled says:

    I like the quote from the document that “In practice, a balance of interests is most likely to be achieved if it is possible to offer attendees both segregated and non-segregated seating
    areas.”

    In short, anyone, anywhere – how very Martini of you all at UUK.

    Whatever the intention of this document, I think it has been sorely missed and whilst on one level it recognises the differences that exist, not just in education, but in society, it then makes strong plays to counter “community” and “belonging.”

  18. Papercut says:

    Why do your guidelines not state “Refuse to segregate your audience, on any basis, and make that policy clear to any speaker before the event so that they can choose whether or not they will be happy to attend in advance”? Then surely everyone will be happy, you are not condoning oppressive segregation, and you save a few trees not printing such offensive nonsense.

  19. Borderbrock says:

    In the 1930’s Poland began to enforce segregated seating in its universities, with Jewish students restricted to the left side of the lecture hall. This, of course, allowed lecturers to address and take questions only from the right side if they were so inclined.
    Polish students of all religious persuasions protested by refusing to sit down in lectures. We can only hope that modern students will also protest such ‘separate but equal’ seating.

    • Ladygeek says:

      I imagine modern students would protest by turning up in drag. That would be quite funny. Almost worth condoning this daft segregation suggestion just to see it play out in reality :)

  20. Simon says:

    If you argue that “in the interests of free-speech” Islamist speakers should be allowed to talk to audiences segregated by gender, then you must by the same “logic” argue that Nazis should be allowed to speak to audiences segregated by race.

    What’s so special about speakers, in any case? Do people walking into a restaurant get to insist on segregating other diners according to their whims? How do you decide which person in the room is the one who gets to have everything their way?

  21. sackcloth and ashes says:

    We are under no legal or moral obligation to accommodate bigotry. End of story.

    A gender-segregated event involves (a) the imposition of a minority view on a majority and (b) a fundamental assault on equality in academia and society. Such events should be banned from campus, just as we ban racist groups like the BNP.

    Universities UK’s duties lie with defending campus freedoms, not truckling to extremists. Stand up and be counted, Nicola.

  22. Written like a bureaucrat, and disgracefully, written by a woman. As a previous commentator noted – replace gender with race and see if that is widely acceptable. I lived under apartheid so I know how loathsome and dangerous segregation is.
    If a speaker does not wish to sit among women – whether Jew or Muslim or any other – even though he sits with them in buses, trains, planes, walks among them in streets, supermarkets, marries them etc -then that is his choice, that’s why we have video conferencing, he can sit alone in a room watching the audience.
    A speaker is an invited guest, and like most guests he is expected to respect the conventions in the home/institution of those issuing the invitation, if he cannot, then he is free to decline the invitation.
    But to insult dozens, hundreds or more women because one person has narrow views is an OUTRAGEOUS suggestion. I hope the first university that tries this gets sued to hell, and is picketed into oblivion.
    The woman who wrote this should get fired, she knows nothing of freedoms – because they always come with responsibility and they always imply tolerance. The fact that she represents universities is a very sad commentary on the state of higher education in Britain today.

    • I worked in S Africa at the end of the apartheid period. It is striking how so much of modern politically correct thinking including ‘racial surveys’ and this sort of guidance allowing segregation echoes the classifications and logic of the Population Registration Act that was the corner-stone of apartheid legal logic.

      No surprise of course. These classifications have to exist so that people can be controlled in tidy categories. As here.

  23. Barbara Wood says:

    Article 9 of the ECHR states that everyone has “the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” but goes on to elaborate that “freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

    So while your hypothetical external speaker has the right to hold the belief that his religion demands gender segregation he can be limited in his right to manifest that belief if the belief fails to protect the rights and freedoms of others. In this case, my right and freedom to sit wherever I choose would be infringed, never mind the humiliation of belonging to an inferior group because, make no mistake about it, segregation is always the imposition of inferior status by self-designated superiors. Enforcing the limitation allowed under Article 9 has ensured the failure of several homophobic bed & breakfast owners and marriage registrars forcing their bigotry on the rest of us. When they take their cases to court on the basis that their “genuinely held religious beliefs” have been infringed, they lose.

    Your guidelines make very ugly reading if racial terms are substituted for gender. Surely you are not suggesting that there are “grades” of discrimination and that gender is at the bottom of the pile? By all means, if certain groups want to self-segregate they are free to do so but they must do it privately, free to spout their homophobia, misogyny, hatred of infidels and apostates to the rafters, but in the public arena the law is quite clear; religious beliefs do not trump the human right of the rest of us to be free of discrimination on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation. Shame on UUK.

  24. Coel says:

    This article and the UUK guidance are both utterly wrong. Universities should simply decline any and all requests that seating be segregated, saying it is against the university’s values.

    That does not, in any way whatsoever, prevent any speaker from speaking or limit their free speech. A speaker or audience member is entirely free to attend and speak. If they choose not to, owing to dislike of the venue or the seating arrangements, then that is up to them, but it is not a denial of their free speech.

    Free speech most definitely does not mean that you have a right to be provided with a platform and for it to be adapted to conform to your own liking.

    I’m a professor at a UK university, and this “guidance” is just embarrassing.

  25. Steve Fyfe says:

    If the legal situation is as you suggest (which I don’t believe for a second), what better institution to challenge that in the name of equality than a university? Instead you suggest spineless accommodation of naked bigotry. Shameful.

  26. Kay Kirk says:

    “The case study reflects the challenges of accommodating everyone’s views, from those whose religious beliefs require them to sit separately with their own gender, to those who wish to sit with the opposite gender…”

    Do you really believe that you need to accommodate everyone’s views? Why only surrounding gender segregation, why only where there is a visiting speaker? Why not segregate the genders everywhere, all the time? We all know that’s because it’s not right at any time. It is clear that almost no-one is excluded from a mixed seating event, because lectures, buses, trains, shops, society itself, are all not segregated in that way.

    You wouldn’t even consider (and rightly so) segregation by other characteristics. Gender segregation is only required by those who believe men and women are fundamentally different, and those people always believe women are worth less, and are the mere temptress possessions of men. By acknowledging segregated seating as a valid request you are explicitly condoning that view.

  27. Richard Greenyer says:

    This is wrong. Universities UK defends reactionary religion. If they think this blog explains themselves or justifies them, they are wrong. If they seek to hide behind this “guide ce” in the hope that the criticism will go away they are wrong. We will never tire of pointing out that they are complicit in an enormous betrayal of progressive principles. Women, gays, secularists, liberals and socialists from ethnic minorities ought to be able to turn to British Universities for support against the patriarchal men, who seek to control them. Rather than fraternal greetings, they find indifference and hostility. The mainstream of liberal-left opinion in the universities, media, civil service, and Labour and Liberal Democrat parties has convinced itself that it is culturally imperialist to demand that members of minorities should enjoy the same freedoms as the rest of us.

  28. UUK is promoting gender segregation and what’s more they damn well know they are, unless, of course they don’t understand the English language. The OP is merely repeating a version the age old mantra of ‘separate but equal’ in trying to justify the completely unjustifiable. The Jews were ‘separate but equal’ in Ptolemaic Alexandria, indeed this may to be where the notion originated, as were black people in the southern states of the USA in the immediate aftermath of the abolition of slavery, as were Jews in 1930’s Poland, as were as were ‘blacks’, ‘Cape coloured’ and a whole host of other groups in Apartheid South Africa. The position of ethnic minorities in present-day China could be described in the same way.

    But, as Orwell shrewdly observed, some are more equal than others And it’s always an open secret who the less equal are. In this case it is clearly women. It seems to me that the position of women in UK society has been getting worse over the past couple of decades. When I first got involved in lefty politics in the 60’s I used to get exasperated by “mother-in-law” jokes and talk of “women drivers” but I never heard women referred to as “sluts” and “whores” and, worse and don’t think it’s because I’m part of “polite society” because I mix with some pretty rough types. But for a lot of younger men such language seems to roll off the tongue as if it were the expression of obvious timeless truths. At UK universities you have women students who have, and perhaps still are, the butt of such behaviour. You also have women students who come from religious (not necessarily Islamic) backgrounds in which they have been seriously devalued as people just for being women. The university has a duty of care towards these women. It does not have a duty of care towards visiting speakers.

    Finally I would say that I did not expect UUK to be a bastion of progressive thought but it comes as somewhat of a surprise to find it to be quite as reactionary as this.

  29. Yvette Williams Elliott says:

    I have read your advice very carefully several times. Your advice ALLOWS an event to go ahead WITHOUT any provision for those who wish to sit in an unsegregated way. I would wish to sit in such an area. I object to this most strongly. I am not arguing that segregated seating should not be available, if desired. I am happy for a man or woman to sit in where they wish to sit. I am not happy for a man or woman to make ME sit where THEY wish me to sit. It’s very simple.

  30. sailor1031 says:

    It is hardly likely that UUK and its spokesperson are unaware of the implications of their morally bankrupt position. What I see here is a wilful obtuseness in support of an unethical but politically “correct” stance. It is what we have come to expect from University administrations – spinelessness coupled with equivocation.

  31. UUK: Perhaps you might like to take a look at the top of this page where you say:

    No you are not. You have just abdicated any right to be regarded as a respected organisation as a result of your astonishing Kristallnacht against women in UK, in 2013. Unbelievable!

    So take away that header please, and stop insulting us.

  32. Rebecca Caute says:

    There is absolutely no moral distinction between segregating people on the grounds of race or gender- to suggest otherwise would be to suggest that black or asian people’s human rights are worth more than those of women. If segregation, whether side by side or not, is inherently acceptable to UK universities for women, then it should be for blacks too- what logical difference is there? Is Nicola Dandridge, now saying that people who have a religious belief in white racial superiority should be able to segregate in debates on the grounds of race? Thought not. Congratulations, Ms Dandridge, you are joining the Nazis, the Apartheid regime, the Saudi Arabian govt, ect in defending segregation. Your shame should be boundless. You are clearly too spineless to reply to any of your critics, but I challenge you to rebut Ophelia Benson’s equation with race segregation.

  33. Alan says:

    Who pays all the extra money in tuition feels.. non EU students, who keeps the universities afloat, non EU students, where do lots of the rich ones come from ?

    Gosh….

    It’s a nonsensical suggestion. What exactly will they do when there are two people one of whom has a genuinely held religious or moral belief (which according to the courts can be interpreted the same way) that segregation of any member is wrong. Oh dear.. bang goes the argument, and I bet a lot of sane right thinking people qualify for that second category.

  34. Ryan Levitt says:

    Social media best practice is that a blog writer acknowledge and respond to the views of people who question and challenge the contents of a blog post. Universities UK has obviously acknowledged the views of religious speakers who want segregation in order to spread their opinions in publicly funded, secular institutions. I would now appreciate if the blog writer could respond to all of the comments above that raise pertinent and interesting questions so that we can see that the opinions of those with differing views are also being acknowledged and taken into account. Because right now, I don’t think they are.

  35. Richard Greenyer says:

    35 responses to this blog and no replies from the author Nicola Dandridge. She knows she is in the wrong, she knows she cannot defend the indefensible, she knows this will not go away. To be fair she probably doesn’t have the power, influence or authority to change policy at the UUK but I would be interested to know who does. May hap a man?!

  36. Mary says:

    Shame on UUK for bowing to the wishes of misoygynist speakers. This document is an attempt to wriggle out of what universities should do automatically – treat men and women equally. This is shameful and I cannot believe that this is happening in the 21st century in Europe. Substitute gender for race and read it again. This is cultural relativism at its worst – we are too afraid to condemn your backward treatment of women because that would be racist. Once again, Muslim women who want the same rights as their Western sisters are thrown to the wolves.

    • Richard Greenyer says:

      I think that the intellectual, humanist and secular parts of our society have effectively been paralysed by the thought of being called racist or islamophobic.
      We have a situation in the UK where a religion can subjugate women, can beat women and murder them in the name of “honour”. Where girls can be forced or pressured physically, socially, or emotionally into covering themselves. Where girls can be taken out of school for a “holiday” to see the family but actually arrive to find they have been married off.
      All of these horrific things have their roots in Islam. Islam is the common denominator. Yet the very people you would expect to rise up against it in righteous fury, have been made impotent for fear of being labelled racists.

  37. François H. says:

    “Debate about the rights or wrongs of gender segregation…..”

    Oh so may be you think there are some rights in gender segregation …?!
    Please list some of them then.

    This is utterly ridiculous.

  38. Ryan Levitt says:

    Universities UK believe that in order to debate about the rights and wrongs of gender segregation, it is OK for genders to be segregated. Talk about ridiculous – and I note still no response to any of the comments or questions outlined above. My original request and ‘guidance’ for Universities UK to respond to all of the questions raised by their original ‘guidance’ was posted this morning. Any other organisation would have responded to this well before now. This problem will not go away.

  39. arthur sullivan says:

    I’m not a fan of slippery slopes, but the next logical step from this advice will be to universities confronted by students whose sincerely held religious beliefs do not permit them to attend lectures, seminars and tutorials where the genders are mixed. And I now have no confidence that UUK will not, under such circumstances, advise universities that they should accommodate such sincerely held religious beliefs, since otherwise they will be denying these students their right of access to higer education.

  40. Chris Moos says:

    43 comments, each and every one of them negative. And still no response from UUK.. Who is charge of PR again? or is everyone too busy writing reports that figure out how to other kinds of segregation practices?

    • UUK is giving us a place to express our views. They don’t have to acknowledge those views, let along admit they’re wrong. Doesn’t the peasantry understand their betters have made a decision? UUK have given a carefully detailed, meticulous explanation for that decision. So there’s no backing down on the decision despite logical and even legal objections. UUK HAVE SPOKEN!

  41. Draken says:

    I can almost hear the sound of partying from the BNP headquarters as they just saw their electorate increase by several percent.

  42. Sophie says:

    Women in this country fought a brave fight for social integration and to be accorded the same rights as men. Acquiescing to prejudical sexual segregation is a retrograde step which should be vigorously opposed, just as UUK would oppose racial segregation (I like to hope). I am a lecturer in a Midlands university, and I say “Not in my name!”

  43. This is tantamount to a tantrum-ocracy. Not understanding the difference between someone’s chosen “offence” and the rights of others. What if I’m offended by someone taking offence? Which offence will you kowtow to now? We might expect this kind of cowardly negating of hard won freedoms from people without the privilege of education, but it beggars belief that this is coming from supposedly learned people. Hang your heads in shame indeed.

  44. Abdullah Ali says:

    I see theres been a quite severe knee-jerk response form the white, Islam-ignorant reactionaries here. Men and women sitting in two equal groups isn’t in any way, shape or form comparable to apartheid in Soth-africa, and as a Muslim I find the comparison insulting and, quite frankly, racist. This may make some of you’re liberal feminist heads explode, but the separation is actually mosstly for the benefit and protection of women! Bet you didnt see THAT coming! :) It allows women to feel more safe, it keeps them from having to interact with potential abuser’s, and it keeps a mea from being distracted by the shapely bottom sat in front of him :)

    I think its great universities are finally allowing freedom of religion! :) I support this 100% and I condemn the knee-jerk responses from EDL white surpemacists and radical feminists!

    • Richard Greenyer says:

      Abdullah, what absolute nonsense you spout. The speaker can ride a bus to the venue, walk the street to the lecture hall all of which does not require segregation yet in a lecture hall somehow the women require “protection?” From what?
      Squealing racism when you don’t get to treat women as inferior simply does not cut it anymore.

      • Georgi ( London Atheist Activist Group) says:

        Separation is for the protection of women. Oh gawd. I suppose slavery was for the protection of slaves too. Be “insulted” all you like Abdullah, it is merely your choice to be so and means not a jot. And when you cry “racist” you are being insulting to those who really did/do suffer discrimination because of an inherent characteristic like colour, ethinicity, GENDER i.e. ones they didn’t choose. Religion is just an idea – a choice. It deserves no special protection, nor does it have human rights. The rest of us won’t give up our freedoms for others’ delusional and medieval choices.

      • I can’t help noticing that every time someone’s religious freedom is invoked, it’s almost always at the expense of everyone else’s freedom!

    • Well one imagines your ancestors have never fought for freedoms. It’s interesting you bring up race because that’s the next stop I presume in this fascist agenda – segregation based on race/colour. Don’t forget to put Weird Al Yankovich’s parody of Prince’s ‘1999’ on at your next party (if you have such things) which includes the line “tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1699″. Oh they’re ‘pop songs’ in case you’re not down with the terminology.

    • Sophie Lambert says:

      Abdullah, as a woman, I feel absolutely safe sitting with men in my University lecture theatre. In fact I feel far safer there than on the street. It’s insulting to men attending a university lecture that you think they’re somehow a danger to women. Examples please of women being abused by men in a lecture theatre to prove your point.

    • Draken says:

      In fact, I did see it coming because the it’s-for-their-own-good gambit has been played multiple times in history. For sure we cannot trust the blacks will not abuse their newly-won freedoms! We can’t allow women to vote lest their delicate little heads explode trying to understand politics!

      Now that is an insult both to women and to men, those poor creatures who cannot control their lust, not even in a university auditorium between women dressed from top to toe in three layers of textile!

      If ‘lust’ is your motivation, do you also suggest homosexuals need separate seating?

      And no, religion is not a race or natural state of being.

    • James says:

      Abdullah,

      “Bet you didnt see THAT coming!”

      I did actually. In fact anyone familiar with Muslim double-speak on these issues would have expected every one of your ‘arguments’.

      Your attitude is insultingly to women because of its paternalism – you think men have to make the rules for women for their own good and that they cannot make good decisions on their own. This attitude is reminiscent of the treatment of ‘other races’ in Apartheid South Africa. The belief was that Africans were child-like and needed Europeans to dictate every aspect of their lives for them.

      Your attitude is insulting to men because you assume they are reduced to slavering, sexually driven animals by the presence of women. This attitude too is reminiscent of how the National Party saw Africans. Europeans of course were civilised and capable of suppressing their sexuality, but Africans were primitive and would fornicate at the drop of a hat.

      I know Muslims are human beings just like me. They have the same ability to act in accordance with the rules of society. I find the ideologies of Islam (as well as Christianity and Judaism) repulsive, but I don’t condemn Muslim people as a group, only ideas and actions. So don’t try and lump all opposition to Islamic ideas in with the EDL or other racists.

      • Draken says:

        James, your mind seems in time and space connected to mine, with a 1-minute subspace delay :-)

        We extend protection to people who provenly can’t (yet) take care of themselves, like children and the mentally challenged. To do so with other people is an admission that you don’t consider them mentally fit.

      • James says:

        Yeah, it’s neither coincidence nor magic is it. The implications of Abdullah’s position are obvious, the counter-arguments are equally obvious.

        As depressing as the stance taken in the UUK ‘guidance’ is, I am heartened that of the 68 comments to date, Abdullah’s is the only one to endorse gender segregation. Equally as important, most are based on sound rationalist & liberal democratic values, rather than EDL style xenophobia or Islamophobia. The latter would have given UUK the opportunity to paint their critics as hateful bigots.

      • janekelly507 says:

        I suffer from Islamaphobia, although I reject that term because phobias are irrational, but fear of Islam is based on common sense. I would not be so scared of it though, if we didn’t have liberals in universities and journalism prepared to put aside truth in favour of some craven ideology.

      • James says:

        Jane Kelly,

        Without wanting to derail the thread, I suspect we have different definitions of Islamaphobia. The Greek root of “-phobia” may simply mean “irrational fear”, and you may apply it to the ideology and/or those who espouse it, but the common meaning is fear and/or hatred of all Muslims or those perceived to be Muslims, and this is the sense in which I was using it.

        Anger and disgust at the injustices within Islamic theocracies, and within Muslim communities in the West, are totally justified. Suggestions of “creeping Sharia” or “Islamification” in the UK are hugely overblown though, certainly as far as they impact non-Muslims. The pushback this UUK guidance has received should demonstrate that.

        Hatred of anyone from a Muslim background without knowing their individual beliefs, is just bigoted. I don’t assume all Christians agree with the Westboro Baptist Church, and I don’t assume all Muslims agree with the Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas. I think all Christians and Muslims are wrong about the existence of God, but some of them are dangerous as well, and some of them are just wrong.

    • Roger C says:

      Well, I’m not a member of the EDL, nor a radical feminist (just an ordinary one) and my knees are currently both quite static.

      If avoiding “mea” [sic] from being sexually distracted by “shapely bottoms” is an issue worth mentioning then clearly gay men will clearly have to sit with the women (but not anywhere near each other of course!) and lesbians will necessarily be required to scatter themselves amongst the men. Could get complicated. Not to say illegal.

      Having said that, who are the women being protected from? Non Muslim men generally get by with women around them without any great desire to molest them – perhaps Moslem men need a little more practice in such everyday self-restraint? Is that what you were getting at Abdullah, or have I misunderstood you?

    • Roma says:

      I, a woman, have never felt unsafe sitting next to a male in any setting in England. I cannot imagine a scenario where it would be the opposite.

    • Abdullah Ali, you don’t know the skin colour of the people disagreeing with you. In most cases, you don’t know their religion either – there are Muslims who disagree with you.
      You say segregation keeps women safe. No it doesn’t. Spreading the idea that I’m less than human does not make me safe!

      I hate the way the EDL hide their racism behind criticism of Islam. And I hate the way misogynists hide their bigotry behind criticism of racism. You might have noticed that the EDL tend to turn moderate Muslims into Islamists. Ask yourself who creates support for the EDL. (Hint, its not the majority of Muslims.)

    • S Mason says:

      That you religion makes certain demands of you in no way means that it is realistic that those demands be met without question.

      Do you tolerate all other religious demands Adbullah Ali?

      The response here is far from knee jerk…

      You find us insulting? You are free to do so. Strangely, I suspect you don’t extend the same courtesy in our direction.

      You are ignorant of the fact that we know that this position is represented as being for the protection of women?

      What about my (does it make it better if I call it ‘religious’) freedom to be insulted by your religion? Am I allowed that? Or does it only ever go one way for you?

      I spend time and energy campaigning on behalf of persecuted Muslims around the world to receive justice and to be allowed to live and practice their religion freely. To conflate me with the EDL. Now that’s insulting.

      See who you’re protecting UUK? See the tactic? And you have given in to this?

    • Others here have demolished these useless arguments. I note only that you betray your own thinking by dwelling on the fact that there may be a ‘shapely bottom’ (female) in front of you, distracting you from the presentation.

      Men and women have bottoms. All of them have a shape. Deal with it.

  45. S Mason says:

    Shameful day for British Universities. Seriously shameful. The fail of reasonableness here is a disgrace. The pandering to extremism is a disgrace. UUK you have failed women and men everywhere, Muslim and non-Muslim: you are a disgrace.

  46. Ged Roddam says:

    There are enough eloquent comments here to make any I add superfluous. Disgracefull decision UUK. Equally disgraceful not to engage with valid criticism.

  47. Steve Foulger says:

    A local bus stop has been festooned with stickers suggesting that Muslims should boycott buses since men and women are not segregated. Not that it had any noticeable effect on potential passengers I’m glad to say. But I suspect that if UUK ran public transport they’d soon oblige – and if not then why should universities be picked out for this ludicrous appeasement of intolerant misogyny?

  48. Carl says:

    It’s 2013 in the UK. And this organisation is giving advice that it may be acceptable to segregate by gender in a university lecture theatre. Is this effing real??

  49. Chris Moos says:

    HRH UUK has spoken indeed! And let’s not forget what happens to unruly peasants:
    “The peasants have taken on themselves the burden of three terrible sins against God
    and man, by which they have abundantly merited death in body and soul. In the first place
    they have sworn to be true and faithful, submissive and obedient, to their rulers, as Christ
    commands, when he says, ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,’ and in Romans
    XIII, ‘Let everyone be subject unto the higher powers.’ Because they are breaking this
    obedience and are setting themselves against the higher powers, willfully and with violence,
    they have forfeited body and soul, as faithless, perjured, lying, disobedient knaves and
    scoundrels are wont to do.” Luther (1525)

    Let this be a lesson to all those who challenge the gracious and mighty UUK. Just saying.

  50. Segregation is fascism. Ask anyone who lived through apartheid. Or was used as slave labour in recent times in Ireland. These guidelines really are insidious correctness gone mad. Some jobsworthy should get sacked at UUK for dreaming up this cultural genocide. An apology is due as well.

  51. Roger C says:

    I have read all of the previous comments & I think all sensible responses have been made (except by Abdullah, of course) so I won’t repeat them, but I ask why is UUK so scared of Muslims?

  52. Mary says:

    Universities UK need to come down on the side of Thomas Paine, JS Mill, Voltaire, David Hume, Mary Wollstencroft and the Pankhursts – for freedom! If you live in the UK, you are only subject to the law of the land – you CANNOT be treated differently on account of being female (eg covered in a burkha, only inherit half of a man’s share, not allowed custody of kids after divorce as in sharia) or gay (being forced to undergo a sex change in Iran, or hung over a swimming pool in Afghanistan)
    Our ancestors fought for freedom but this must be continually defended, as Sallust warned in Jugurtha (My A level Latin does come in useful) Remember, the Greeks found the Persian habit of prostration to be repulsive, and we need to keep our inner dislike of submission in any form.

  53. Barbara Wood says:

    Reference my 26 Nov post in which I cited Article 9 of the ECHR I hope all at UUK have taken note of the judgement handed down at the Supreme Court yesterday in which a charmless couple of b&b owners lost their appeal in the case of their refusal to give a room to a couple on the grounds of their sexual orientation not being to their liking. They claimed their “religiously informed decision of conscience” or as UUK would say “genuinely held religious beliefs” should allow them to do so. But as article 9 clearly states you can hold whatever religious beliefs you want, but if acting on them means you infringe the rights of others then you lose. Substitute “gender” for “sexual orientation” and you’ll see where I’m going with this.

    This couple lost in the county court, then in the Court of Appeal and now the Supreme Court has found against them and they have to pay compensation. When you, as the advising body, or an individual university is taken to court over your guidelines, and I so hope it happens, the criteria applied in yesterday’s judgement will ensure you also lose. Can’t wait.

    • I take it you are studying Law? If so, you will go far!

    • This is a very good point Barbara. We are being treated differently because some of us are gay and some of us are not. So unless all gay people are actually sat with other gay people of the opposite sex, in non-matching pairs, and everyone straight is sat on either side and bi-sexuals are presumably sat on their own, then there is discrimination because you simply can’t treat people the same because they’re all different. What if any trans-gender people turn up to watch? Even as it stands they must certainly be discriminated against wherever they’re told to sit.

      • Barbara Wood says:

        Stop, you’re making me dizzy. But wouldn’t it be great if Grayson Perry could be persuaded to turn up in one of his fetching polka dot frocks, that would give them something to ponder.

      • Heavens to Betsy! What a hoot this all is! I am glad to see we have the next generation of satirists here. Only our sense of humour saves us.

    • Stephen Beesley says:

      I’m afraid the two cases aren’t really comparable. In the UUK example, males and females are both being discriminated against and so one group is not disadvantaged compared to another. For this reason it may well be legal to follow UUK’s fatuous advice.

      However, if any person or group reasonably feels intimidated by such arrangements or if the arrangements or speaker discriminate against one group over another (eg takes questions from men but not women) then there may be grounds to bring action. Considering the kind of people who would ask for segregation, such behaviours seem entirely possible. Having read the guidance, I doubt UUK have considered this aspect and they have quite possibly left themselves or others open to legal action anyway.

      • Barbara Wood says:

        UUK certainly seem to have convinced itself that two wrongs make a right in that there is no discrimination if all are discriminated against equally. But there is still discrimination based on gender at the behest of another. This third party is allowed to impose their views on gender to the detriment of both men and women and a seating arrangement results that would not have appeared if the audience had been left to its own devices.

        But the signs are good that an internal squabble will break out and there will be a schism. An open letter was published in The Scotsman on Nov 30 addressed to Vice-Chancellors at all Scottish Universities calling on them to “state unequivocally that the abhorrent guidance on external speakers issued recently by UKK does not apply to Scottish Universities”.

  54. Mihai Milan says:

    What a foolish and irresponsible thing to even consider. How do you differentiate? What if people start complaining about others dressed in more than 3 colours, or about body piercings, tattoos, shoes, hair style? How exactly do they intend to cater to everyone’s potential needs or preferences. How do you distinguish between real beliefs or just discrimination or dislike? This will open a Pandora’s box that should have been left alone. It’s simply logical that in order to be truly fair in matters such as this is to not favour any one side, but to either treat them all as equal (which we established is highly impractical) or ignore them all and focus on what Universities should do: Teach. This very proposal underlines the danger of letting personal beliefs turn into policy.

  55. Andrew Platt says:

    The guidance *does* promote gender segregation by refusing to declare it completely out of the question – which, of course, it is.

    To see how obvious this is, ask yourself how you would respond if an external speaker wanted to segregate whites from blacks.

  56. Roma says:

    English women have fought and died for equality for too long to have any form of segregation introduced into our society.

  57. Draken says:

    After reading these comments, I’m having this vision of the odious Hamza Tzortzis visiting a UK university for a talk, and Abdullah Ali and his friends busily trying to segregate everyone in the audience from anyone else they might even potentially have a sexual interest in. After a coarse subdivision in men and women, they start to go around questioning any deviations to the standard pattern and creating groups of male homosexuals, female homosexuals, closet cases, transsexuals, bisexuals, and undecided prepubescents.

    Hope they film it, it would make for great comedy.

    • A Hermit says:

      After a coarse subdivision in men and women, they start to go around questioning any deviations to the standard pattern and creating groups of male homosexuals, female homosexuals, closet cases, transsexuals, bisexuals, and undecided prepubescents.

      It gets unmanageable pretty quickly doesn’t it? I mean, if the point of segregating is to keep people from being distracted by their uncontrollable lust it’s obviously a mistake to group the homosexuals together; why, they’ll be all over each other! But if you put the lesbians in with the straight men those poor helpless men will still be distracted by the lesbians irresistible femaleness…

      What to do!?

    • …. and then every possible permutation of the groups you list with other groups they demanded to be allowed to sit with or be allowed to refuse to sit with – all side by side so as not to give any group an advantage

  58. Halima Begum says:

    I don’t think we should be blasting UUK for sharing another perspective. I am Muslim, grew up in London, and work with universities from the UK and overseas so you could say, I share the mind set of many in the universities sector. 

    I don’t agree with the view from some members of my faith community(s) that men want to sit mostly with men and women want to sit with mostly women. This is a situation that often comes up in weddings and many MPs serving diverse regions in the UK face this on a daily basis. It never used to be this way about 10 years ago.

    I honestly don’t know where we go with this, except deal with it on a case by case basis. If the majority of women want to sit in women-only audiences, fine, if they don’t, then it’s not fine. I would rather lose the emotional sting of these discussions because it doesn’t help anyone. I often debate the idea of academic freedom in my own mind when I see branch campuses opening in other parts of the world where academic freedom isn’t easy to respect in public spaces and so we proceed in non-emotional ways to try and understand how to work things through. 

    Neither do I feel this is a big issue that’s breaking our universities at the moment.

    Presumably it’s no one’s business where anyone sits, it shouldn’t be a case for regulation, perhaps etiquette, but there shouldn’t be any rules. It’s one of these things in society that is best left to be managed informally. 

    External speakers at universities should expect to be challenged, heckled and questioned. That is the only space in the world where this is socially and professionally acceptable.

    • Barbara Wood says:

      Don’t think we should be blasting UUK? We absolutely should be blasting UUK. They are diminishing the fundamental human right to equal treatment, in order to appease a religious group and in so doing are betraying civil liberties that have taken the struggle of generations of men and women to get to where they are today.

      It happens at weddings? You are confusing the public and private spheres. What people do in the privacy of their family lives is one thing, when they want to drag those practices into the public arena it is quite another.

      Case-by case equals chaos. No, we definitely don’t deal with it on a case-by-case basis, that’s why we have laws for everyone to abide by. Don’t like the laws? Stay away.

      So, you don’t think it’s a big issue? It’s a huge issue if you believe in equal rights, irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation.

      You’re dead right about no regulations. Ah, but that’s the point, the agenda of these external speakers is to make regulations so that what is unacceptable becomes normal. Are they prepared to give in to etiquette and informal arrangements. Are they heck.

      Absolutely agree, heckled, challenged and questioned all the way. Then accusations of Islamophobia start flying and suddenly, “genuinely held religious beliefs” want exemption from scrutiny, challenge and criticism on the grounds that they are “genuinely held religious beliefs”.

    • jimmyboy99 says:

      “Neither do I feel this is a big issue that’s breaking our universities at the moment. ”

      We that’s probably true. But it is a matter of important principle – and very visible to the wider world. It really matters.

      Plus the people pushing the agenda (like Hamza Tzortzis) have shown themselves to be utterly odious in their other social views. It isn’t just women they want to be ‘separate but equal’ after all. Gays, transgendered people, non-Muslims aren’t really very high on their list of party guests either.

      So dealing with this on a case by case basis is precisely what we should not do any more than we should deal with any other form of unreasonable discrimination on a case by case basis. And no one should get to inflict their religious views on the rest of us in a public place.

  59. I notice that Nicola Dandridge starts by describing Universities UK as being “the representative organisation for the UK’s universities”. It is nothing of the sort, It is the representative organisation for (mostly male) vice-chancellors. That was obvious from its much more honest previous name “The committee of vice-chancellors and principals”, That’s the same group that supported high tuition fees.

    It isn’t fair to blame Nicola Dandridge, She’s paid to say whatever words are put in her mouth by her bosses.

    The outcry against this iniquitous policy document appears to be just about universal. UUK has made an idiot of itself. The only way UUK can save any sort of credibility is to retract it at once. But it is not in the nature of powerful organisations to apologise for mistakes.

  60. but, on a more serious note ………..

    Any *University* deserving of that description would simply refuse to segregate an audience at a public meeting to comply with the demands of a visiting speaker – and accept the consequences.

    Not that there are ever likely to be any.

    The legal “guidance” in http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/highereducation/Documents/2013/ExternalSpeakersInHigherEducationInstitutions.pdf which suggests that refusal to segregate an audience might unlawfully curtail the freedom of speech of a speaker (because of his or her religious beliefs) is arrant nonsense – nonsense which is further compounded by the wild speculation about “feminism” (sic – i.e. the inverted commas are yours not mine) falling within the definition of ‘belief’ under the Equality Act.

    Or can you point to any legal precedent for a University or similar institution being successfully sued in a civil or criminal court for declining to kowtow to and enforce the unreasonable demands of intolerant religious bigots?

    It’s very simple. If a speaker will only attend if a University is prepared to enforce segregated seating at its premises, that speaker should (as in the ‘Arkell v. Pressdram’ case) be told “to find an alternative venue”.

  61. How can someone be distracted by shapely bottoms when those bottoms are on chairs? I have a mental picture of Mr. Ali stretched out on the floor staring up and hoping a woman will shift her buttocks so he can get distracted.

    “Oops, sorry Abdullah, didn’t mean to step on you. I didn’t see you lying between these rows of chairs.”

  62. S Mason says:

    Are you resigning yet Nicola? There comes a moment…

  63. Sue Wise says:

    Your guidance has failed to take into account many discussions, and other guidance, on how to deal with equalities legislation when the needs and requirements of different protected groups are in conflict. The majority of opinion is that religious rights cannot ‘trump’ gender and sexual orientation rights: especially when applied to secular institutions and organisations. You have simply got this wrong. Do your homework and look at precedents.

  64. Sue Wise says:

    P.S. Rulings have already been made on this in the UK High Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

  65. What a poor attempt to justify the indefensible. The fact that it takes Universities UK 44 pages(!) to say something so gutless is almost as bad as the odious segregation advice itself.

    Attacking this folly is easy enough. But better proposals need to be made. So I have written a short sensible Guidance on this subject that can be used when the current horrible thing is withdrawn.

    Here it is:

    http://www.thecommentator.com/article/4408/guidance_to_universities_on_external_speakers_2_0

    • djmalz says:

      If this ex ambassadors commentary was followed; in all the decades leading up to the emancipation of women and in all the decades leading up to apartheid, good citizens would have had to be quiet mice allowing open platforms and be on their very best behaviour, meanwhile the rotten to the core speakers are politely listened to and largely left alone to organise. I don’t think so some how.

  66. The representative organisation of universities allows gender segregation. Did they ask the taxpayer or their fee paying customers about this? Where was the discussion or debate? We would like to see the minutes of any meetings where this matter was discussed?

  67. David Colquhoun says:

    One wonders how many of the vice-chancellors and principals had actually read the document that was issued in their name. I’m aware of at least one who hadn’t.

    Let’s hope they read these comments before the UUK meeting this week..

  68. There is an excellent article by @NickCohen4 “The segregation of women and the appeasement of bigotry” at http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/nick-cohen/2013/12/the-segregation-of-women-and-the-appeasement-of-bigotry/ in which Nick engages with Nicola Dandridge and she digs an even deeper hole for herself.

    Nick concludes:

    “Last weekend saw the anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus to a white passenger on 1 December 1955 – a splendid act of defiance, which began the campaign against racial segregation in the American south. Just like the sexism of the 21st century, the racism of the mid-20th had religious apologists. Blacks lived under the curse of Ham, white churches taught. God had ordained that they should not mix with whites. Just as in today’s universities, there were soothing voices in the American judiciary saying that there was nothing wrong with segregation. Blacks and whites were “separate but equal,” they said. Segregation was not subordination.

    Rosa Parks knew that this was a lie , and fought back. Naively, I assumed that her battle had been won. Now it looks like we must fight it all over again.”

  69. I’m appalled at Universities UK. They should go and read Popper’s “The Open Society And Its Enemies”. Intolerance is one of those enemies, and the tolerance of an open society cannot be abused to permit it. Yet that is precisely what is proposed here. The freedom of speech argument is frankly ludicrous, and totally misapplied: segregation absolutely and directly restricts speech between individuals.

    And now I shall go hide in a quiet corner until I have calmed down enough to face people. I am ashamed to have been a UK academic if this is what it has descended to.

  70. Mark McAndrew says:

    By far the most obscene and ridiculous proposal from UK Universities, ever.

    If segregation by race, colour or creed is not permitted (and rightly so), segregation by gender is out of the question.

    Whoever is behind this should resign immediately. Pandering to bigotry ‘lest the bigots be offended’ is utterly unacceptable.

  71. William Redman says:

    Why is it that womens’ rights are viewed as less important than religious rights?Radical religions have no right in a modern country to infringe upon personal freedoms.

  72. Ruth says:

    As a lot of excellent comments have already made, I’m going to invoke the much-scorned ‘yuck’ factor.

    When I walk past a sign that says ‘women this way’ or ‘men this way’ for an event, I feel disgusted that my own civil rights are being trampled on in a place of higher education and learning.

    UniversitiesUK: to quote Lily Allen, ‘Forget your testicles* and grow a pair of breasts*’.

    *Words have been altered to ensure offence only where necessary.

  73. Barbara Wood says:

    Is this the kind of side-by-side segregation UUK envisage or will there be something to sit on?
    https://twitter.com/TarekFatah/status/407655026815823872/photo/1/large

    • Ruth says:

      Was it the Al-Madinah school that forced girls to sit at the back?

      I was forced to sit at the back of an Islamic society meeting as an undergrad. The Christian Union just went with it when they visited.

  74. Jefferson Airhead says:

    my religion is football and I think it is best for all women who like it too are sat elsewhere in the stadium so I can be left to appreciate with my like minded male friends, who understand better the rudiments and undertow of the game. Don’t get me wrong my football club and my friends like women and we are happy that they show an interest but why must we have them sit next to us nausing it all up. Of course if they insist on joining in I could always hit one of them with a stick (not to thick of course as that would be wrong). I am white working class so I guess my view comes across as a little Neanderthal, misogynistic but that’s because you are against my cultural background.

  75. Dirk Fairclough says:

    What do the pillars of our free thinking society believe? That it is ok to segregate because someone says so?

    What piffle. The general consensus is that discrimination is not tolerable in our society and this is the message that must be remembered. If a religious group holds different beliefs to this then it is their right, however it is also their decision to attend or not attend.

    The notion that segregation by race cannot be allowed because it is illegal highlights your impotence to assert a morally correct framework.

    Gutless comes to mind…

  76. Stephen James says:

    I’m always hoping that people in the UK look seriously at the debate of whether we should be tolerant to others intolerance or not. Come on UK, what do we want for our future generations? Where is the discussion? UK Universities have certainly highlighted this ridiculous position at least the national response shows some hope. But until we agree on “one law for all” trumping all others then we will not get out of this. Those who don’t speak now will hold their heads in shame in years to come.

    I will be questioning whether my vice-chancellor knew of the content in advance.

  77. Mark Blagrove says:

    Allowing segregation, whether on the basis of race or sex, supports discrimination. UUK and Nicola Dandridge should be ashamed. If a man objects to sitting near women, or near people of another colour, he and his beliefs should be questioned, not appeased.

  78. Anna Langley says:

    I think that Universities UK have made a grave error of principle here, and betrayed the legacy of all those who struggled for women’s participation in higher education. Shame on you.

  79. Graham Dutfield says:

    This is a severe error of judgement by Universities UK. I really hope this document will be withdrawn as it can only bring the British universities sector into disrepute internationally. Frankly, the advice is embarrassing and cowardly. If people have a religious or other objection to co-educational universities that is their personal business, but is not something the rest of us should even think of accommodating, least of all our “representative organisation”!

  80. mindfuldrone says:

    I believe I have the right to freely associate with whoever I choose under articles 20 and 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Does this not apply to whom I choose to sit next to? If not–why not?

  81. djmalz says:

    Finally the government has woken up. They have issued a statement concerning dealing with extremism any where in Britain. They make the distinction between practising a religion as a muslim and the political activities of Islamists. May i also say the same must go for all religions at this juncture. They must not be allowed to raise their heads in civil society and force their beliefs in any way on others.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-taskforce-recommends-new-powers-to-tackle-extremism

    • I am a practising Anglican and I don’t think I have forced my beliefs on anyone. Making a big show of faith is not the British way at all. When I was a student in the 1970s religion of any kind was hardly mentioned.

  82. djmalz says:

    the Audit and Accountability Bill currently making its way through parrliament is also likely to be a means by which a bodiy acting in a public function can be made to account for its decisions.

  83. Sophie Lambert says:

    I’d like to see anyone make ME sit in a segregated area with other women… Just try it. As others have said, we are talking about publicly funded spaces; our Universities. A group with ridiculous medieval ideas of segregation of the sexes has no place in a pluralist egalitarian society and cannot dictate segregation. Have they never heard of Rosa Parks? Separate but equal my arse. We fought too long and too hard to get sexual equality in this society. I’m not about to let anyone roll that back. Think again UUK! Are you listening? And SHAME on you Nicola Dandridge. How can you, as a woman support this statement?

  84. Fred says:

    As a foreigner it is a bit strange to quote an Englishman of the 19th century who addressed more or
    less the same problem as this executive. I mean sir Napier: “Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

  85. Mark Armstrong says:

    Dear fellow commentators and readers, can you imagine what our “legal obligations” will be once those who forced this onto the table and defend it in this forum have grown into a democratic majority (15-30% of the population)? Segregation is just the start. The democratic government of Afghanistan is voting on whether to bring back stoning..

    • John Dowdle says:

      The one good thing that can happen is that young Muslims – men as well as women – begin to realize that there is an alternative way of life to the one propagated by misogynistic males in their community. Other communities have adjusted sensibly to our way of life and I believe the Muslim community will too but this idea of pandering to religious extremism which dictates separateness – or apartheid – of the sexes is just about the most retrograde idea that any institution of higher education and learning in this country has ever come out with. If it is true – as Nicola Dandridge and Universities UK claim – that this is a legal requirement, then the only sensible response anyone can have is that “The law is an ass” and should be ignored accordingly. No to apartheid.

  86. Jeep says:

    Are you out of your mind?
    I mean: is Britain losing it completely?
    I’m a Dutchman (from Holland) and these issues (burka’s, headscarfs, female invisibility, family honour killings, seperate approach regarding boys and girls at schools, so-called islamic courts, wife-beatings, arranged marriages, non-existing equality between men and women, and so on/so forth) are daily issues in our newspapers/newsmedia. All muslim related items in my country.
    We are trying to teach our immigrants and their offspring that either they ajust/modernize their faith and culture (because many items I mentioned above are culture-based and non-religious), or to – please – find another country, where there is less discussion and they probably feel themselves more at home.
    And now I read this article and well, speechless is mildly put. Why compromise? Why agree to this?
    No faith or culture or some fuzzy combination of both has the right to treat men and women, boys and girls as if they belonged to seperate castes. With a lot of privileges for males and none for females. All religions are male-dominated, which is a mistake in itself, but in our part of the world we developed. Took us some centuries and Suffragettes and womens-lib-movements and un-orthodox thinking – man works/brings in the weekly pay; woman is house-wife annex mother; father decides – mother nods – those sort of things to realize that men and women are equal and have equal rights and an equal say in any matter. And we are still not there yet.
    I’m a male, but for the sake of all women and girls concerned: I hope this article is a misprint.

  87. Pogsurf says:

    Amazing. A “representative of an ultra-orthodox religious group” pops up and because he has “genuinely-held religious beliefs” a debate about segregation on sexual grounds is not even needed, he has already won this argument without even voicing it. Because of what exactly. Liberal sophistry? Pandering to religious bigotry? Failing to understand hard won freedoms are worth fighting for?

    I disagree with others on this thread that the “representative of an ultra-orthodox religious group” has views which are pre-1900 or medieval. Bigotry is alive and well in the twenty-first century, thank you very much, and will continue to thrive whilst small-minded functionaries fight harder to maintain their sinecures than they do to secure other peoples liberties.

    Any institution promoting equality should be blind to differences amongst those invited onto its premises. Any attempt to lift the veil of blindness should resisted by those with sound enough minds to recognise the very beginnings of a slippery slope to intolerance.

  88. Gary says:

    This is the most outrageous advice and has no basis whatsoever in legality. That it came from a woman is very, very sad. As so many others have said above, a) you ARE effectively promoting subjugation of women and b) this is no different to segregation based on race or sexual orientation.

  89. WHS says:

    There is absolutely no one on this earth, as you put it in this post, “whose religious beliefs require them to sit separately with their own gender”. There are people who have chosen to believe that their religion requires them to sit separately with their own gender, and there are white liberals who have chosen to believe this perverse idea that religion requires some people to sit in segregated audiences. There is absolutely nothing in Islam or any other religion that requires gender segregation, only the loathsome bigotry of some men.

  90. starburst says:

    Before joining UUK Nicola Dandridge was the CEO of a body called, ironically, the “Equality Challenge Unit” which produced the report “Religion and belief in higher education” to provide guidance to “faith community, belief and inter-faith organisations, which may work to support HEIs in providing a positive learning and working environment for staff and students of various religion or belief backgrounds”. The report states that “Legal changes, including the Equality Act 2010, have established religion or belief as an equality strand with protected characteristics status in law.” (Executive summary). The teaching of evolution is doubtfully legal for certain audiences since this is a blasphemy to many with religious views. Such a change in the biological science curriculum would then allow aeronautics modules in physics to be modified to allow for equine winged flight and astronomy courses to be consistent with the splitting in half of planetary satellites. How long before UK universities teach an earth centered universe in male only educational establishments?
    http://www.ecu.ac.uk/publications/files/religion-and-belief-staff-and-students-in-he-report.pdf/view

  91. John R says:

    Allowing gender segregation does not promote gender segregation? What planet do UUK live on? Either this is some half baked, ill qualified, legal department trying to justify their existence and salaries or we are finally becoming a theocracy.

  92. Vanessa says:

    From an overall perspective this thread is hilarious – due entirely to Abdullah’s PERFECT, and utterly unknowing contribution. No-one needs to articulate any (obvious to any thinking human) logical arguments to this ridiculous issue, he’s just demonstrated the crux of it immaculately. There is a shining example of the side “debating” the “rights”. That we are forced by the reality of the “tantrum-ocracy” (so aptly coined above) to dignify this archaic lack of rationality/understanding with a response highlights the threat that civilisation is facing.

  93. Richard Baron says:

    Dear UUK, you can recover the position, very easily and perfectly honourably. Just put out a statement as follows.

    1. The November guidance was about the legal position.
    2. The controversy has made us appreciate that it is important to cover the ethical position too.
    3. We recognize that sex segregation of mixed audiences is systematically associated with the oppression of women.
    4. So even though some forms of organized sex segregation may be legal, the practice is ethically wrong.
    5. We therefore condemn the practice, and we want universities to refuse to host meetings at which sex segregation of mixed audiences will be organized.
    6. We also condemn meetings from which one sex is excluded, except where that is done to allow the other sex to speak with more confidence than they might otherwise do, and there is independent evidence that this will be a benefit.

    (You might want to leave 6. off, and deal with that issue separately, but on the other hand, you might want to include it, to make clear that you are not against, for example, groups that are, for good reason, restricted to women.)

    • Richard Baron says:

      Whoops, the phrasing of my point 6. was careless. I meant “independent evidence that this benefit will arise”. Enabling people to speak more freely is always a benefit. I just wanted to rule out spurious claims that one sex was being excluded for that reason, when in fact the exclusion was for some other reason.

  94. Ellen Renner says:

    Implied approval of segregation on the basis of gender is as morally bankrupt as is segregation of the basis of race or religion. It’s a great shame to see the supposed representative of higher education in the UK catering to the a few bigots whose misguided interpretation of their religion is a smokescreen for misogynism. There is no ‘choice’ involved in cases where social, familial, and religious history demands a form of compliance at odds with actual and perceived equality. This is political correctness gone mad: loss of confidence in the western humanist value system due to guilt about past cultural imperialism is no excuse for wooly thinking. Nor is hiding behind legal sophistry going to get you out of this mess, which of your own making. Women are now the last group on earth to be accorded full status as human beings, even here in the West. We are not ‘other’. We are not ‘lesser’. There is no such thing as separate but equal. Stop it, UUK. Have a bit of courage.

  95. willemien Hoogendoorn says:

    Missing guidance

    Listening to the radio this morning UUK is changing goalposts.

    in the report it is the speakers who may impose the audience to sit seperated.

    While the UUK on the radio says that it now that the people in the public may freely decide to sit seperate. (what in practice means that you may sit next to somebody of the same sex)

    so i decided to read the report carefully

    The report does talk about “Consideration will also need to be given to whether
    imposing segregation on everyone attending the
    event is required”
    so it is about imposing segregation, not forsing not voluntary but about imposing it , because the speaker wants it.

    but then under “Other practical considerations” it doies mention : Can any steps be taken to ensure segregation is voluntary?

    but unfortunetly any guidance on this point is completely absent.
    So how ” Can any steps be taken to ensure segregation is voluntary?”

  96. Richard Baron says:

    Thank you for publishing your legal opinion from Fenella Morris QC, dated 12 December. (It would also be very helpful if you published any opinions you obtained in advance of publishing the guidance.)

    Paragraph 8 of the legal opinion, which is the key paragraph, is unconvincing. The argument is that a speaker’s desire for segregation may engage two European Convention rights, article 9 (manifestation of religion) and article 10 (freedom of speech), and that between them, they could outweigh the audience’s right to freedom of association.

    On article 9, no-one in an unsegregated audience prevents the speaker from manifesting his religion. He can read from his holy book, dress as he sees fit, and pray out loud, as much as he likes. Non-segregation of an audience merely prevents him from getting other people to manifest his religion, which is something he has no right to do. On article 10, non-segregation does not limit his freedom of speech. If he decides not to speak to an unsegregated audience, it is his own petulance that limits his freedom of speech.

    • willemien Hoogendoorn says:

      the most interesting point in the legal opinion I find paragraph 6.
      >> One of the features of the Guidance in relation to Case Study 2: Segregation under the heading “practical considerations” is the question “Can any steps be taken to ensure
      segregation is voluntary?”… <<

      But this is only mentioned under the practical considerations, while the question is a legal or maybe even a philosophical one (if you as i do think that there are no steps that that can asure that the segregation is voluntary )
      It surely is not a practical point and formal guidance should be given or other wise the UUk should acknowledge that it the voluntary character cannot be ensured.

      l did make an earlier comment on this , but i think my earlier post cot stuck in the moderating.

      Still it is nice to notice that the advisor falls over the same point

  97. To expand on the comment of Richard Baron at 12 December 2013 at 6:52 pm, let me just point out the obvious. An external speaker is invited to speak at a university. If the conditions imposed on the invitation (yes, I think imposed is fine) are not acceptable to the speaker, this is not a curtailment of freedom of speech. The speaker has no automatic right to speak at the university. The university gets to decide. I really think this is so obvious it’s hard to believe we’re even discussing it. There is no public interest in encouraging gender segregation, so it’s really hard to imagine any proportionality test coming down on that side. Please stop being so ridiculous.

  98. janekelly507 says:

    Seats For Women!
    On Tuesday 10th December I joined ex Muslims from One Law For All, and various secular groups to attend a demonstration outside 20 Tavistock Square,against sexual segregation at lectures and debates. My mother laughed heartily at the thought of me going on a demo, something I have not done for thirty years, not since I was supporting Polish Solidarnoc. I promised her I would resist knocking off any police helmets.
    The demo was for a cause which should get the attention of anyone interested in basic, long held principles of equality. Astonishingly sexual apartheid has just been allowed by UUK, the body which represents university Deans and faculties. This has been done to appease Muslims, probably in the hope of getting more wealthy students in from the near East.
    There was about fifty of us there in the cold and fog, including Yasmin Alabi Brown, who is a tiny lady but speaks very forcefully. The following day the event was reported on Today, but Maryam Namazai, http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/ who is behind it, can never get interviewed by the BBC, and is ignored by Woman’s Hour. The radio report also included a report from the LSE where some atheist students were banned from having a stall and wearing T Shirts bearing the names Jesus and Mohammed, in case they offended Muslims.
    If these segregated university lectures go ahead, there are plans to disrupt them which may mean women like me dressing up as Muslim clerics to get into meetings to sit among the men. Later at my church coffee morning, I mentioned what I had been up to. One of the older ladies, who spends most of her time cooking for our social events, got very excited.
    ‘I fought for gender equality’ she expostulated.
    Many people who were students in the 1960s believe that they did this, even if they never left the bar or library. I told her about the plans to disrupt segregated meetings. ‘I’ll come, I’ll do that!’ She said, and I think she will. Suddenly I was back in another age, one we thought was long, long dead, my Grandmother’s time, when she as a young woman had to take a view on her sisters who were joining the Suffragettes. Some women in our family were chaining themselves to metal railings in Liverpool, while others, like my Granny, remained quietly at home.
    When I was a teenager I saw a wonderfully good BBC drama series called, ‘Shoulder To Shoulder,’ about the suffragette movement and how I longed to join Christabel Pankhurst’s radicals, and then Sylvia’s socialists. Those women were all the world to me for awhile, but it was fiction and it was history. But now in 2013, the same issues of equality before the law have to be redefined and fought for all over again – I once regretted not being able to join a struggle which started in 1903 and ended in 1914, now I am getting into a struggle which also has the disadvantage of being utterly unnecessary before international law, and absurdly forced on us by men from Pakistan.

  99. Helen Lewis says:

    UCL’s policy on gender segregation at events and meetings is as follows:

    UCL’s general expectation is that any event or meeting held in UCL premises will be open to all, regardless of gender. There are exceptions to this (for example training sessions of men’s and women’s sports clubs), but events should be open to all unless they are specifically designed for one gender or another.

    There should be no enforced segregation by gender at events. Pre-allocation of seats by gender, and the use of stewards to direct persons attending a meeting to gender segregated seating are unacceptable.

    It is acceptable for individuals attending events to choose to sit with members of their own gender. If individuals attending an event wish to segregate themselves on a voluntary basis, it is not acceptable for other members of the audience to compel them to mix, and to do so may constitute harassment.

    Seems clear enough. Why has Nicola Dandridge got her knckers in such a twist about it? It seems to be because she thinks Muslim women are different from her. She claimed they felt “comfortable” with segregation. Had she asked them? No. had she read any accounts of segregated meetings, particularly the ones at UCL and Leicester? Not with any intelligence. If UCL can produce its own guidance like this, why does a body like UUK exist at at all?

    Links:
    – See more at: http://www.noodls.com/view/7951396A8289158044283ED69458BE7BA3B1F696?2558xxx1386883011#sthash.J9IljXhE.dpuf

  100. What Would Bentham Do? says:

    I’ve just read the UUK press release of 12/12/13 which claims that counsel’s opinion “confirms that the guidance is correct”. No it doesn’t. The opinion, in response to a narrow question, states that the guidance is “lawful”. However, the fact that it (might) not be illegal to provide gender segregation at a public talk in a university does not make it correct. This is an issue the UUK should be leading on, not surrendering to the demands of fundamentalists.

  101. djmalz says:

    The BBC is covering this today – good – now a wider tax paying audience can hear about this. Please note not all comments are being posted.

  102. Unnecessary hoo ha being created over seating plans at events where these campaigners would most likely never even attend. If some people prefer to sit separately then let them do so, it is a free country. No one is imposing segregation on someone who does not want it. I’d like to hear people’s views on single-sex grammar schools that have been producing the country’s top students for hundreds of years; and no one has ever had a problem with that.

    http://chocolatemachine.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/the-seating-plan-crisis/

  103. dmalz says:

    Cameron has made a statement – its positive. Channel 4 interview good.

  104. djmalz says:

    The missing post concerns those women who gain privilege from supporting draconian controls of other women. This happens in Islamic countries. Isn’t this the role of the woman who has supported segregation at UUK -she is being used by certain ones who seek to appease funders. If she wishes to refute this show the minutes of how and why this decision was made by university authorities. Can other women from England be interviewed on this matter please. Islamophoebia absolutely – thats those ideas which cause women and men in Islamic countries to bury their books.. Those muslims who wish to carry on religion privately fine. There are clearly many models which individuals wish to follow. Private versions of religion kept to themselves but practised within the civil Law. Thats how we are able to be liberal and tolerant without jeopardising our fundamental freedoms.

  105. A Hermit says:

    UUK has posted “Response to Downing St. comments on gender segregation ”

    http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/highereducation/Pages/ResponsetoDowningStcommentsongendersegregation.aspx

    “Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “Universities UK agrees entirely with the prime minister that universities should not enforce gender segregation on audiences at the request of guest speakers. However, where the gender segregation is voluntary, the law is unclear.”

    What’s unclear? If a group of people choose to sit together then of course they can sit together. That’s called “people sitting where they choose.” What shouldn’t happen is people being told they can’t sit where they choose.

    As soon as you declare that seating is to be segregated you are in effect removing that choice. Just don’t do it.

  106. Apart from a quite bizarre utterance here by someone curiously named Abdulla (agent prococateur? probably a lacky of Ms Dandridge if he exists), all the comments here indicate that if ever an event were to be organised on a British University campus, where Ms Dandridge’s Nazi Germany/White South African Apartheid policies were announced in advance to apply, there would be enough Rosa Parks on the day, to sit where they like and say: “I am going to sit here, and if you lay one finger on me, this assault warning device will go off.”

    Segregated seating is no different from saying “Only genetic mutilants allowed in.”

    It is not true that Vice Chancellors are not very smart, quite the opposite; they did not get where they are by being passive and dumb. I suspect that Ms Dandridge may have slipped one set of words passed them and then slipped a variant into the public statement. UUK has been on the receiving end of approbrium from every media outlet and articulate individual, apart from the quaintly silent BBC. This embarrassing fact will not have gone unnoticed by the various VCs, some of whom will be squirming at the situation they now find themselves in. Such organisations do not normally sack their miscreants because it makes them look like they were asleep at the wheel. But one can be sure that a year from now, Ms Dandridge will have another job. We can be grateful that she put her name to it, not quite Goebbels, but propagandist enough.

    • Stephen Beesley says:

      Speaking of bizarre utterances, the BBC have not been silent as a simple online search will demonstrate. And the absolute equating of UUK’s stupid notions with Nazi Germany and Apartheid South Africa’s is frankly offensive to anyone who suffered under those regimes.

  107. Sophie Lambert says:

    I’m sure both of those obscene movements began with small notions. Our vigilance shouldn’t be derailed by the inappropriate use of terminology.

  108. woody says:

    “This is a complex area involving a wide range of legislation from equalities law through to criminal law and the duty to protect the safety of university staff, students and visitors.”
    equalities law – also relates to the audience, no?
    criminal law – how so?
    safety of unversity staff, students and visitors – safety from? the only difference-new bit in the mix (and catalyst for trouble) would be the external speaker and specifically his followers-visitors

    “an external speaker on faith in the modern world requests that the audience is segregated according to gender”
    what the external visitor wants is neither here nor there

    “The case study reflects the challenges of accommodating everyone’s views”
    you can never accomodate everyones views, why would you?
    would you expect to go to country x and not follow their ideas about no alcohol, covering up, etc…each silo-nation-little box (a la Malvina Reynolds) has their own world view…ours is different…the external speaker in our backyard would need to accept ours, in our world

    ” it highlights the legal and other factors that universities must consider if they are addressing the particular circumstances outlined in this case study”
    universities are more ofen charities and public funded bodies, as such they have no such need to address.

    This idea of gender segregation as with racial segregation is probably illegal, is immoral, is “alien to our culture” despite the chief executive saying otherwise. This hypothetical brings the UUK into disrepute. It would be better to follow the idea of Laïcité. Religious ideas should be kept for a place of worship. There was an idea going the rounds about separation of church and state awhile back. Keep it that way.

    “We don’t have education, we have inspiration; if I was educated I would be a damn fool.” – Bob Marley

  109. markus says:

    How can this be in the 21st century? Crazy…

  110. Marc says:

    Sorry, but this is just nuts!

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