Ignorant student society proudly announces its rejection of what it ignorantly calls “PM’s call to ban gender segregation” – ignorantly because it’s far from exclusive to the PM and in fact he caught up days after many other people and organizations had issued the same call.
Ignorant student society proudly announces its view that students should decide how societies are run, including segregating any way they want to.
The society is SUARTS, the Students’ Union of University of the Arts London. (For an arts students union it has a remarkably crappy website that actually blocks the text of the article you’re trying to read, with no way to unblock it. You can read only a few lines without scrolling.)
SUARTS rejects PM’s call to ban gender segregation
The Prime Minister’s call for the banning of gender segregated events at university campuses has been challenged by an SUARTS officer on behalf of UAL.
Mostafa Rajaai, Culture and Diversity Officer for SUARTS, stressed that students should decide how societies are run, without university or government interference.
Rajaai told Arts London News: “I believe it is not right to force students to do anything, whether it’s forcing them to sit separate or to sit together. It should be left to the attendees to decide how they want to arrange their seating and if they do decide to sit separately, that is their choice.”
You see where the problem comes in. Rajaai is simply demanding a return to the bad old days when people were outraged that anyone was “forcing them” to sit among people whose race or class or country of origin was anathema to them. Rajaai thinks the enraged racist mob outside Little Rock Central High School in 1957 was in the right of it, and the National Guard troops who made sure the nine African-American students were able to enter the school and be safe once in were in the wrong.
Rajaai is also obfuscating, because attendees of course still would be allowed to decide where they want to sit and to sit separately where there was room to do so. All they would not be allowed to do is demand that anyone else defer to their decision to sit separately. I can choose any empty seat on the bus. I can’t demand that anyone move to give me a seat I like better.
“Members of our Islamic societies, or other societies for that matter, do not need to be told how they should run their events by the university nor the government as they are meant to be autonomous, student-led entities,” he added.
Yes? What if the ASH society had an event and demanded that the Muslims sit in the back? Would Rajaai think that outcome is fine? I don’t know, but I strongly doubt it. I think Rajaai is coasting on the fact that he knows damn well the ASH society would never make such a hateful demand.