Universities UK Supports Gender Segregation

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

UUKUniversities UK (UUK) is an advocacy organization whose members include just about every university in the United Kingdom. UUK provides its members with policy guidelines regarding all aspects of university life. The UUK recently released a report advocating a policy of gender segregation to preserve the freedom of speech of external speakers. The report uses a hypothetical case study of a representative of an “ultra-orthodox religious group” whose freedom of speech is imperiled if his demands for gender segregation in the seating arrangements aren’t met.

The UUK takes the separate-but-equal approach. It sees such segregation as non-discriminatory if neither males nor females are treated less favorably. Reminiscent of racial seating arrangements on buses in the U.S. South, the UUK disapproves any “front to back” segregation. They suggest a “left-right” separation of the sexes. The UUK claims that no discrimination exists since “men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way”.

However, there is more to arbitrary discrimination than treating the genders unequally. Gender segregation is arbitrary discrimination because it is based on treating individuals solely with regard to their gender. To be human is to be an individual, a distinct person. A person who is not longer treated as an individual is dehumanized.

No mention is made regarding how much distance between adjacent genders constitutes an adequate separation. Those seated in adjacent columns along the dividing line are unsegregated on one side of their bodies. Should there be a vacant column of seats between the genders? Too close a proximity to the opposite gender is a known condition for the transmission of cooties.

The UUK fails to make an argument regarding the loss of freedom of speech if the room is unsegregated. The speaker’s religious beliefs do not give him the right to force others to conform to his views on gender segregation. It would not be tolerated if a speaker’s religious beliefs required him to speak to a racially segregated audience. It should not be tolerated for gender segregation.

The issue of gender segregation came to a boil when physicist and prominent atheist, Professor Lawrence Krauss, refused to take part in a debate at University College London entitled: “Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?” when he learned of the forced gender segregation. Krauss said he wouldn’t speak at a segregated event and walked out. One of the event’s organizers chased Krauss down and promised him that the segregation would be abandoned. Krauss was accused of being “intolerant.”

Jesus and Mo captures the essence of the debate:

UUK jesus and mo

H/T: Coel Hellier, Hemant Mehta, Richard Yetter Chappell, John-Paul Ford Rojas.

31 thoughts on “Universities UK Supports Gender Segregation”

  1. Did we not have a Revolution to break away from these nitwits that some dare call Limeys? So, when they come over here we need to segregate them. Women and children first. On that note, segregate the children from adults in America. Have housing complexes for the old. Bar the brats from Adult Movies. Keep em outta bars. Bar them from mitzvah.

  2. Don’t they have male vs. female sororieties and fraternities in American universities? And are not they still segregated as well by race? And don’t the males and females have separate restrooms where they can go rest? Is that the same in the UK? Or is that only in America?

  3. I think that the movie Blazing Saddles is relevant here. The newly Freedmen group had come west to make their way in the Free World and came upon the town which was about to be attacked by a large bandit group. One of the town masters was asked if they could become a part of the community and they would help fend off the bandits. And the guy says yes let em in. But Not The Irish!. But then he relented.

  4. I have a non-religious Israeli friend (she is an attorney) who would make a point to use the restroom on her overnight flights to the States at the very moment the ultra-ultra Orthodox men on the plane stood up to do their early am prayers. On the way to the restroom, she would ‘inadvertently’ bump into as many of them as she could. Because, obviously, as women are filthy and contaminated, this would necessitate them starting their prayer ritual all over again.

    It is hard to describe how obnoxious this particular belief is to those of us classed as ‘unclean’ based on some ridiculous notions about the divine mystery of menstruation from thousands of years ago (there is actually a modern rabbi who instructs Orthodox women on how to properly clean their handguns if they should happen to touch them during their period because their menstrual impurity can ‘corrode’ the metal–what a thoroughly modern American approach to religious delusion and bigotry).

    I think the UUK got this one wrong. As offended as a student with a particular religious belief might be at having to include women in his academic world, it is nothing compared to the offense caused to women by suggesting it is okay for them to be treated this way at a public university. When your beliefs start to impose limitations on my activities, we have a problem. Time for these folks to grow up and join the real world or, if that is not what they want out of life, limit themselves to private academic facilities that will happily cater to their individual religious biases.

  5. if they want to go rent a hall somewhere with their money that’s their business. not on school property, not with school money, and no school credits. public means public. all of them

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