UCL looks the other way

Chris Moos sent me a new statement from the Concerned Students about the iERA event at UCL. It turns out that UCL wasn’t as uninvolved as it claimed.

Despite denial, UCL staff found to have actively enforced gender segregation

Following the events of March 9th, UCL has denied that its members of staff were allowing the enforced gender segregation on attendees, and issued a statement that alleged that UCL had responded appropriately to warnings from student, putting measures in place that only failed to protect students because the organiser iERA acted in counter of them (see annex). New evidence has now emerged that UCL has neglected its duty of care towards students to an unprecedented amount, with UCL staff not only tolerating, but also actively enforcing gender segregation.

An individual who identified herself as “Dr Aisha Rahman”, who claimed that she was “teaching at UCL Chemistry” and that she had “booked the room on behalf of UCL Chemistry”, said the segregation had been agreed with the university and repeatedly refused two students, Christopher Roche and Adam Barnett, access to the venue unless they complied with the segregated seating plan. [Read more…]

iERA Investigates

iERA has issued a press release with the heading

iERA Investigates Complaints about Seating Arrangements at the debate, “Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?”

It reports that UCL doesn’t want iERA doing any more talks at UCL, because of the gender segregation.

UCL’s reasoning is that they do not allow enforced segregation on any grounds at meetings held on campus and their assertion is that “attempts were made to enforce segregation at the meeting (sic).” iERA complied with the request from the University to cater for all preferences by having seating that was open for all attendees, male or female, and two sections to accommodate those that wished to adhere to their deeply held religious beliefs.

Ahhhhhh look how they word that, the tricksy buggers. They make it look as if the university requested two sections to accommodate those that wished to adhere to their deeply held religious beliefs. [Read more…]

Told that security would remove him from the premises

The UCL student paper reports on Saturday’s exciting events.

The event, held as part of Hamza Tzortzis ‘Islamic Awareness Tour’, featured the public speaker Tzortzis debating against cosmologist and professor of Physics, Lawrence Krauss on the topic of ‘Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?’ However, attendees soon began to question the organisation of the event when an email sent by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) and the organisers of the event, informed attendees that seating allocation would be decided by “when the ticket was booked and gender”. However, when concerned students contacted UCL, they were assured by Fiona McClement, the university’s Equalities and Diversities Adviser, that all attendees were “free to sit wherever they feel comfortable”, and that this had been made clear to IERA.

And yet when the time came, this turned out not to be the case. Separate entrances, and seating separated into men’s, women’s, and a “mixed” area for couples… [Read more…]

Krauss says no

Dana Sondergaard attended the debate at UCL yesterday, and she recorded a video of Lawrence Krauss packing up his things and leaving because the gender segregation he’d objected to was still being enforced. It’s a public post on Facebook.

“No!” he says, making the “no” gesture with his hands. “No gender segregation or I’m out of here.”

More on yesterday at UCL

Chris Moos has written again to UCL, and urges others to do the same. He gives a detailed account of how the gender segregation was enforced and what a crap job UCL did of interfering with it. Hello world, it’s 2013, and University College London is allowing segregated events on its campus. Chris has given me permission to quote his letter.

Following up on the emails I had sent you on Thursday and Friday, I am writing to inform you that I was shocked about the manner in which the Islam or Atheism: The Big Debate event was carried out yesterday.

1) The organisers clearly and repeatedly violated UCL’s Equality and Diversity policy. Not only did they enforce gender segregation, but five security guards of the organiser intimidated and attempted to physically remove audience members who refused to comply, falsely claiming that these attendees had been disruptive. Both male and female audience members felt intimidated by the actions of the organiser’s security guards.

Only after Professor Krauss threatened thrice to leave the debate if the organisers should continue to enforce gender segregation (follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151324574843231 ), the organisers cleared one row of the women’s area and allowed the male attendees to sit there, thereby maintaining forced gender segregation. Notably, the women who were sitting in that row were not asked by the security guards whether they would feel comfortable with a man sitting next to them, or whether they would be willing to move. Forced gender segregation was thus maintained. [Read more…]

Yesterday at UCL

Richard Dawkins has a fuller account of what happened yesterday at the “Islam or Atheism?” debate at UCL, via Krauss himself.

A few days ago, I had received a tip-off from somebody who had made an inquiry about tickets: ‘We contacted the organizers today and learnt that “as for seating, it is according to when the ticket was booked and gender”.’

I’m guessing that somebody was Chris Moos, since he’s been all over this and I don’t know of anyone else who has. Chris does great work.

I passed this on to Lawrence, with the suggestion that he might consider withdrawing from the whole affair. He immediately asked the organizers, who assured him that the audience would not be segregated by sex, and Lawrence agreed to go ahead. [Read more…]

One stop shopping

I’ve done a lot of posts about all this shut-uppery at UCL and Queen Mary U and LSE. I thought it might be useful to collect them all in one place.