I’m amazed by this. Really amazed. A group of university vice-chancellors in the UK has “issued guidance” saying that it’s ok for students to be segregated during debates as long as they’re beside each other not in front and behind.
Are they out of their minds??
Universities can segregate students during debates as long as the women are not forced to sit behind the men, university leaders have said.
Segregation at the behest of a controversial speaker is an issue which arises “all the time” and banning men and women from sitting next to each during debates is a “big issue” facing universities, Universities UK has said.
As a result they have issued guidance which suggests that segregation is likely to be acceptable as long as men and women are seated side by side and one party is not at a disadvantage.
Really? Really, university vice-chancellors? “Likely to be acceptable” to whom?
Would the university vice-chancellors say that if the categories were not women and men but Jews and Gentiles? Blacks and whites? Muslims and Hindus? Dalits and everyone else? Workers and toffs?
This business about ‘Segregation at the behest of a controversial speaker is an issue which arises “all the time”’ – oh yes? Why does it? Because there are so many reactionary theocrats working hard to spread their reactionary theocratic rules? In other words, because there are so many Islamists wanting to speak and universities inviting them to speak because they are “controversial”? Yes. So imagine a UK university invites David Irving to debate his “controversial” views, and he demands that Jews be segregated. Would the VCs say that was likely to be acceptable provided the Jews didn’t have to sit in the back? Would they entertain the suggestion for an instant? I don’t think so.
In a new guidance on external speakers, vice-chancellors’ group Universities UK says that universities face a complex balance of promoting freedom of speech without breaking equality and discrimination laws.
No they don’t. Freedom of speech doesn’t depend on allowing “controversial” speakers to demand that women be segregated.
The report adds: “Assuming the side-by-side segregated seating arrangement is adopted, there does not appear to be any discrimination on gender grounds merely by imposing segregated seating. Both men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way.”
Jesus fucking Christ. Apartheid? Jim Crow laws? Ghettos? “Whites Only” signs? Not to mention the fact that these “controversial” speakers will have views about women that are unmistakably and dramatically discriminatory: that’s the main thing that makes them “controversial”!
Apart from the controversies surrounding segregation, Universities UK say that academic institutions are facing a legal minefield when organising external speakers and their guidance aims to help them find the balance.
An example of the fine balance is illustrated when the report goes on to say that if side-by-side seating was enforced without offering an alternative non-segregated seating area, it could be deemed as discriminatory against men or women who hold feminist beliefs.
It adds: “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.”
Well that’s a handy way to dismiss the whole idea of universal human rights – just label the ones that cover half of humanity “feminist beliefs” and then label that a belief system on all fours with religious belief systems. Zip, job done, women relegated to second class status in the blink of an eye.
The report presents some hypothetical case studies which come up on campuses, including whether a speaker from an ultraorthodox religious group requests an audience is segregated by gender.
“These are issues that are arising all the time and these are really difficult issues,” said Universities UK chief executive Nicola Dandridge.
“What emerged from our work on this particular issue is that there is no clearly defined right or wrong here as to whether to allow or outlaw segregation. It is going to very much depend on the facts of the case.”
You made a mistake somewhere then. Go back and check your arithmetic. Find the mistake. Don’t come back until you have.