The University of Leicester had a gender segregation problem too, also in connection with Hamza Tzortzis.
The talk, entitled Does God Exist?, featured a guest speaker Hamza Tzortzis as part of an Islamic Awareness week. Seating at the event was segregated, with different entrances into the lecture theatre for men and women.
In Leicester, more than 100 students attended the segregated event, which took place last month. A photograph passed to the Guardian shows signs put up in a university building, directing the segregation.
A message on the group’s website says: “In all our events, [the society] operate a strict policy of segregated seating between males and females.” The statement was removed after the Guardian contacted the society.
The university responded but they’re confused in the same way UCL was.
A spokesman for Leicester said: “The University of Leicester does not permit enforced segregation at public events. The university will investigate whether entrances to the hall for this event were segregated by the society and will ensure there is no recurrence of this.
“The University will not interfere with people’s right to choose where to sit. If some people choose to sit in a segregated manner because of their religious convictions then they are free to do so. By the same token, if people attending do not wish to sit in a segregated manner, they are free to do so.”
But if some people choose to sit in a segregated manner then other people will have to comply or the segregation will stop being segregation. It doesn’t work to allow both. In any case the University shouldn’t want to, for the obvious reasons: suppose the segregation is whites and non-whites, or Muslims and kuffar, or Muslims and Jews.
Universities need to develop a backbone on this subject.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “Gender segregated seating contravenes the equal opportunities and anti-discrimination policies of universities and student unions. Students and staff should not be subjected to sexist segregationist policies.
“Universities are supposed to be places of enlightenment, tolerance, liberalism and human rights. It is shocking the way some student Islamist societies are being allowed to force women to sit apart from men, sometimes with the connivance of the university authorities, who take a hands-off approach. Some universities are doing very little to ensure that the campus is a safe and equal place for all students.”
Exactly. They need to stop talking waffle about people “choosing” to segregate.
Dan Flatt, an officer for Leicester Students’ Union, said: “The Students’ Union does not believe in enforced segregation. We trust in our societies’ ability to conduct their events in accordance with the principles of the union.”
But Rupert Sutton, from the campus watchdog Student Rights, has claimed there is “consistent use of segregation by student Islamic societies across the country”.
He wrote: “While this may be portrayed as voluntary by those who enforce it, the pressure put on female students to conform and obey these rules that encourage subjugation should not be underestimated.”
No waffle about “enforced” segregation please.