Posts Tagged ‘ Universities UK ’

Advice from robots

Dec 15th, 2013 4:02 pm | By

Since Maryam saved the original UUK guidance, I’m reading pages 27 and 28 again for the nostalgia. It read as if it had been written by a robot.

The segregation request is not yet in the public domain but the students’ union has an active feminist society which is likely to protest against the segregation request. Other societies are likely to express similar concerns. The event is also due to take place a few days after a number of campus-based activities to coincide with International Women’s Day.

See what I mean? A robot or an extra-terrestrial. There – might – be – some – groups – who – would – not – like – the – idea – of – … Read the rest

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Who sits where

Dec 15th, 2013 12:36 pm | By

Kate Maltby on the gender segregation dispute.

I spent much of Tuesday afternoon shivering outside the offices of Universities UK. I was there to protest their publication of guidelines which suggest segregated seating of men and women may be legally required where guest speakers demand it. It’s reassuring to learn that protest sometimes works: by Friday, the beleaguered body had shifted their position twice within 24 hours, thanks in part to criticism by Michael Gove and David Cameron.

It is reassuring, isn’t it. I’m still surprised at the speed with which it happened.

But for all their fair words, I’m told the Cabinet have no plans for legislation to clarify the law. And I hear some members of

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Shoulder to shoulder to shoulder

Dec 14th, 2013 11:12 am | By

There was a new comment yesterday on Nicola Dandridge’s November 25 blog post about the gender segregation bit of Universities UK’s guidance on external speakers. The new comment is by Jane Kelly, who went to the protest.

Seats For Women!
On Tuesday 10th December  I joined  ex Muslims from One Law For All, and various secular groups to attend a demonstration outside 20 Tavistock Square,against sexual segregation at lectures and debates. My mother laughed heartily at the thought of me going on a demo, something I have not done for thirty years, not since I was supporting Polish Solidarnoc. I promised her I would resist knocking off any police helmets.

The demo was for a cause which should get the

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Maltby and Barkatulla on PM

Dec 13th, 2013 12:15 pm | By

Radio 4′s afternoon news program PM had the UUK-gender segregation story as its lead item, and then its first in-depth story. The talking heads were Kate Maltby, a Christian and a PhD student at UCL, and Fatima Barkatulla of Seeds of Change which (PM failed to say) is part of iERA.

Barkatulla pushed the UUK line that it’s voluntary, with extra added “live and let live” and “religious Muslim women just want a space.”

But that’s all nonsense. You can’t have separate space in a public auditorium or class room or lecture hall without keeping the “wrong” people out, so it can’t be voluntary. The minute some “wrong” person tries to sit in that space, some sort of action … Read the rest

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Those who wish to sit in separate areas

Dec 13th, 2013 11:14 am | By

The Telegraph has the skinny on what the Equality and Human Rights Commission thinks of the gender segregation issue.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced it will help re-write guidance, published by Universities UK (UUK) last month, which said Muslim societies and other groups were entitled to practice gender segregation at public meetings on campus.

Mark Hammond, the EHRC’s chief executive, said gender segregation was “not   permissible” under equalities laws, adding that UUK’s guidance required clarification.

By agreeing to go back to the drawing board with the EHRC’s help, the vice-chancellors’ organisation appeared to have headed off the prospect of a legal challenge from the official watchdog.

There: the Telegraph described UUK properly: it’s “the vice-chancellors’ organization”; it’s … Read the rest

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The assertion of religious political power

Dec 12th, 2013 5:35 pm | By

The Telegraph reported on the gender segregation protest.

Maryam Namazie, a researcher at the University of London and one of the organisers of the event, said that she has noticed a rise of Islamism across UK Universities that is not truly representing the views of most Muslims.   She said: “In the UUK’s efforts to be inclusive they are encouraging sexism and endorsing discrimination.

“It’s about free speech and its about Islamists imposing their rules and projecting women as symbols of chaos in society.” 

A whole host of speakers were at the protest that climaxed in the chanting of ‘shame on UUK’ directed at the organisation’s headquarters.

There’s a picture of people at the protest above that passage, with Maryam … Read the rest

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Nicola Dandridge speaks

Dec 12th, 2013 1:48 pm | By

I’ve just been listening to Today’s Today programme on UUK and gender segregation. I’ve got to run off so will post later but there it is for your listening pleasure fury. It starts just before 2 hrs 10.

I find Dandridge simply astonishing. I can hardly believe what I’m hearing. Fortunately Justin Webb sounds almost as incredulous as I am, and he keeps pushing back.

Jack Straw is very definite about what he thinks.

The BBC and everyone really needs to stop saying UUK represents UK universities, because (if David Colqhoun is right, and I think he would know) it doesn’t, it represents the vice-chancellors, not the universities. That does make a difference.

Dandridge actually seems to think that … Read the rest

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‘Have the people who are likely to come to this event agreed to the segregation?’

Dec 12th, 2013 11:53 am | By

The BBC reports on UUK’s statement.

Universities UK says it has today requested legal clarification from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

In a letter, Universities UK which represents 132 institutions, has asked the Commission to consider having the issue clarified by the High Court, “or provide a clear and public statement about the law and the relevant policy considerations”.

The row over the UUK guidance has sparked protests from students and some MPs.

UUK actually doesn’t represent 132 institutions, it represents 132 vice-chancellors.

Along with students and MPs the row has also sparked protests from journalists and activists and bystanders like me.

Shadow business secretary Chukka Umunna told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme he was “horrified”.

While former

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UUK speaks at last

Dec 12th, 2013 10:44 am | By

Universities UK has issued a press release on the gender segregation issue.

Statement from Universities UK:

Universities UK’s publication External speakers in higher education institutions aims to provide guidance to institutions in managing the process for inviting external speakers onto campus, both in terms of upholding principles of free speech, and also complying with the law. It was produced with significant input from a range of organisations and individuals (referenced in the full report) as well as extensive legal advice.

The guidance is not prescriptive. It is intended to provide practical assistance to universities in making decisions about who they choose to invite to speak on campus, steering them through all the different considerations, legal and otherwise, that apply.

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Apathy strikes again

Dec 10th, 2013 9:29 am | By

Bernard Hurley is at the protest against Gender Segregation and Universities UK’s guidelines on same. He says there aren’t many people there though, only about 150.

Dammit.… Read the rest

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A revival in adherence to normative Islamic practices

Nov 28th, 2013 12:10 pm | By

The iERA, the Islamic Education and Research Academy, has issued a press release agreeing (surprise surprise!) with UUK’s guidelines on girl cooties gender segregation. Tl; dr: it’s religious freedom, it’s great.

The debate about separation came to the fore earlier this year at an iERA event entitled: “Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?” between Hamza Tzortzis and Professor Lawrence Krauss at the University College of London (UCL) on 9th March 2013. UCL subsequently refused to take any further bookings from iERA, accusing them of “forced segregation”.

iERA later released its own findings of an externally supervised investigation into the accusation of forced gender segregation at the debate. The investigation concluded that there was no such policy or evidence that

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And still no response from UUK

Nov 27th, 2013 12:20 pm | By

The Universities UK blog continues to get strongly critical comments on Nicola Dandridge’s post defending its position on gender segregation. It also continues not to reply to any of them.

The latest is by Chris Moos, summing up the state of play.

43 comments, each and every one of them negative. And still no response from UUK.. Who is charge of PR again? or is everyone too busy writing reports that figure out how to [defend?] other kinds of segregation practices?

There’s also one from a University of Manchester physicist.

UUK: Perhaps you might like to take a look at the top of this page where you say:

“We are the representative organisation for the UK’s universities”


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Universities once barred women altogether

Nov 26th, 2013 11:13 am | By

Polly Toynbee also objects to UUK’s separate-but-equal policy.

Separate but equal; where have we heard that before? Apartheid South Africa is no metaphor for anything else, but women of my generation and all those before were told over and over again that the sexes are different “but equal”, as an excuse for excluding them from places they didn’t belong: they should be doing “separate but equal” in the kitchen, bedroom and nursery. Whatever is segregated by diktat is rarely equal.

And not just our generation and older, but younger generations too; women are still told that. That is still official Vatican dogma – women are equal but “complementary” – women are equal but different, and they must not try … Read the rest

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Rory Fenton condemns

Nov 25th, 2013 8:48 pm | By

At the New Humanist, Rory Fenton says no thank you.

It is astounding how quickly we forget or wilfully ignore that human rights are there to protect people – not beliefs. At the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies, of which I’m president, we increasingly see this confused notion of rights being applied on UK campuses. Whether it’s our student groups intimidated for “blasphemy”, as at LSE and Reading, or religious societies refusing unmarried women permission to speak, as at Bristol, this trumping of individual rights by the supposed rights of “beliefs” is increasingly common.

…nestled in the report was a bizarre and backward recommendation; universities should be willing to enforce sex segregation between male

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BHA condemns

Nov 25th, 2013 8:33 pm | By

The BHA condemns Universities UK’s guidelines on gender segregation.

BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal commented that ‘Universities are secular institutions, not places of worship, and sex segregation should have no place in secular spaces in which we expect to find equality between men and women.  It would be completely unacceptable if a visiting speaker tried to segregate an audience along racial lines, so sex segregation should be equally unacceptable.  Universities UK have characterised this as a freedom of speech issue, but this is misleading.  A visiting speaker’s right to freedom of speech entitles them to express their political and religious views, but not to impose these views on the audience.’

Damn right. If it’s obviously unacceptable on … Read the rest

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How to ensure that no one is unlawfully excluded

Nov 25th, 2013 12:49 pm | By

Nicola Dandridge of Universities UK has written a blog post explaining that UUK is not promoting gender segregation. That’s nice, but I don’t know of anyone who said it was. The objection is that UUK is treating gender segregation as permissible, and that it said it’s not unequal.

Since its publication, there has been some public debate on a small component of the guidance: a hypothetical case study (p.27) in which an external speaker on faith in the modern world requests that the audience is segregated according to gender. The case study reflects the challenges of accommodating everyone’s views, from those whose religious beliefs require them to sit separately with their own gender, to those who wish to sit

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