So Students Are “Separate But Equal”

Remember the Laurence Krauss debate at University College London last year? He refused to cooperate with the organisers once he realised that the audience in front of him was segregated by sex. Fortunately, that story concluded with the Islamic group responsible being banned from hosting any further events at UCL; the university staff seem to have come down on the right side.

But apparently it’s much more widespread than we thought:

Student Rights event monitoring programme enables an in-depth analysis of this issue, with 180 events logged in the period March 2012 to March 2013 investigated for evidence of segregation;
46 of these events (25.5%) at 21 separate institutions were found to have either explicitly promoted segregation by gender, or implied that this would be the case, with six of these cancelled before taking place;

So what is this bullshit?

Universities UK (UUK) has issued guidance on external speakers saying that the segregation of the sexes at universities is not discriminatory as long as “both men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way.”

UUK add that universities should bear in mind that “concerns to accommodate the wishes or beliefs of those opposed to segregation should not result in a religious group being prevented from having a debate in accordance with its belief system” and that if “imposing an unsegregated seating area in addition to the segregated areas contravenes the genuinely-held religious beliefs of the group hosting the event, or those of the speaker, the institution should be mindful to ensure that the freedom of speech of the religious group or speaker is not curtailed unlawfully.”

We, the undersigned, condemn the endorsement of gender apartheid by Universities UK. Any form of segregation, whether by race, sex or otherwise is discriminatory. Separate is never equal and segregation is never applied to those who are considered equal. By justifying segregation, Universities UK sides with Islamist values at the expense of the many Muslims and others who oppose sex apartheid and demand equality between women and men.

The guidance must be immediately rescinded and sex segregation at universities must come to an end.

Separate but equal? I mean, wasn’t Rosa Parks just as comfortable at the back of the bus?

Universities UK can’t even be spat out for being a group of poseur anti-establishment lefty sorts allying themselves with the Islamist far right. No, this is a sordid collection of university officials, most of whom old and unelected with a constant urge to remind us continually of both of those facts. It has no actual authority; but its “guidance” makes for a useful template for perturbed managerial staff (the current President is the Vice-Chancellor at Bristol) concerned about their “multicultural” reputation. Never mind the fact that most Muslims wouldn’t approve of this.

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4 Comments on “So Students Are “Separate But Equal””

  1. […] So Students Are “Separate But Equal” → […]

  2. I have to disagree here. Segregation of sex in Islam does not mean inequality in any way, shape, or form- equality between men and women is actually a part of the religion. If a religious belief means that Muslims cannot take part in public events, then that, to me, is taking away some of a person’s freedom of religion.

    • Even if you were to convince me that a doctrine promoting separate roles based on a person’s sexual organs, dictated by men, did not lead to the oppression of women, then you still need to explain to me why that religious principle could be enforced upon all attendees of an event in secular, public space. If every guest, male and female, were to sit apart voluntarily then it would be regrettable, sure, but tolerable all the same. That, however, is not what the issue is here.


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