A strict policy of segregated seating between males and females

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.




  1. freemage says

    Okay, this seems like something that an organized effort could disrupt, at least. The Islamic societies are well-publicized; most universities have some form of pro-Feminist organization that would be appalled by this practice. A simple email to those organizations where the societies are putting on their next appearance should suffice. After that, it could be an almost mechanical process:

    1: Get a statement from the university leadership, in writing, regarding (and hopefully, rejecting) enforced segregation. Emails should work for this, and make the next step easier.

    2: Make certain the head of campus security is aware of the policy–if via no other means, then by CC:ing that individual in replying to the policy statement.

    3: Get a group of women volunteers. Draw heavily not only from the feminist groups, but women in whatever secular organization might be on campus as well, and from the general student body, too. Hell, I bet the campus’ Christian organizations could be lured into helping, too, on the grounds that these are being organized by Muslims. I see no ethical considerations in a “Let’s you and him fight” strategy for dealing with bigots.

    4: Print copies of the aforementioned emails, preferably the one that includes the head of campus security, and make sure that all your volunteers have them.

    5: Show up early, and stake out spots in front of both entrances; if anyone attempts to get women to leave the “Men’s” entrance, the women there should hold up their copies of the email, and show it to anyone who attempts to get them to move, and refuse. Video should be taken of anyone who tries to push on this.

    6: Upon entering (hopefully first), move throughout the room, but especially the seats towards the front. Spread out, leaving only 2 or 3 empty seats between each volunteer. Again, efforts at relocating women attendees should be met with presentation of the print-out, and a flat-out question, “Are you going to violate university policy here?” Again, record everything.

    Obviously, it would take some effort, but even a few successful outings would shut them down pretty hard.

  2. FresnoBob says

    Interesting, though depressingly unsurprising, that the University authorities don’t get nearly as agitated with the Islamic Societies for this behaviour as they do when the Atheist Society gives a pineapple a name.


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