Damion Thompson reports at the Telegraph (yes, I know – the Telegraph) that the University of East London said No to gender segregation at an event on its campus.
I blogged yesterday about this “segregated” Muslim event organised by the Islamic Society of the University of East London, due to happen tonight at UEL’s main lecture theatre on its Docklands campus.
Much to my surprise, UEL immediately banned it from their campus. See the reaction below by Peter Tatchell, who brought this to public attention:
Check out the poster for the event.
SEGREGATED EVENT, spelled out right there on the poster, and then segregated numbers for the “brothers” and “sisters” to contact.
The dinner event, organised for tonight by the University of East London’s Islamic society, advertised it as a “segregated event”, and had separate booking phone numbers for “brothers” and “sisters”.
But UEL pulled the event after human rights activist Peter Tatchell lobbied Vice-Chancellor John Joughin, warning the seating arrangement would breach equality law.
The Day After Tomorrow event – which charged £5 for tickets – would have seen a lecture theatre at the UEL’s Docklands campus strictly segregated, with women and men sitting apart.
Concerns were also raised about statements made in the past by two of the preachers booked to appear.
A spokesman for UEL said: “The society will not be permitted to use any of UEL’s facilities or premises to host this event. “We have made it very clear to the organisers that the university will not tolerate segregation or hatred in any form.”
The UEL Islamic Society was not available for comment at time of press.
Mr Tatchell thanked UEL for the move, saying: “Gender segregated seating violates the university’s equal opportunities policies and the equality laws.
“The swift, positive response of UEL stands in contrast to some other universities which, in the name of tolerance, collude with Islamist intolerance by allowing extremist preaching on university premises.”
It’s interesting that those other universities are very high-status ones while UEL is not. Similarly, Brandeis is not East Topeka Community College. I wonder why it’s the high-status universities that are so woolly on this issue.