The Solution to Gender-Based Segregation is Not More Gender-Based Segregation

Earlier this year, physicist Lawrence Krauss was scheduled to debate Islam lecturer Hamza Andreas Tzortzis on the question of whether atheism or Islam made more sense. Just as the debate was about to begin, though, Krauss decided he wanted no part of it. He saw that women were being forced to sit in the back while men (and couples) were given seats up front:

Lawrence Krauss grabs his coat and walks out of the debate

When Krauss saw people being moved from their seats, he said he would not speak at an event that was segregated and walked out to cheers and boos from the audience. An organiser pursued him and said segregation would be abandoned.

Dana Sondergaard who attended the event, wrote on her Facebook page: “After having been told the event would NOT be gender segregated, we arrived and were told that women were to sit in the back of the auditorium, while men and couples could file into the front.

“After watching three people be kicked out of the auditorium for not following this seating plan, Dr Krauss bravely defended his beliefs of gender equality and informed event staff that he would not participate unless they removed the segregated seating.

“Needless to say, the staff got their shit together pretty quickly and the event (thankfully) continued.”

In this particular case, the Islamic Education and Research Academy (a sponsor of the event) denied the enforced segregation but was banned from participating in future events at the college.

Now, Universities UK, an advocacy group for universities in the United Kingdom, has published a guide for how to deal with controversial speakers.

So what are you supposed to do if a Muslim speaker at a public event asks that the audience be segregated? Let’s see what the guide says:

A representative of an ultra-orthodox religious group has been invited to speak at an event to discuss faith in the modern world. The event is part of four different speeches taking place over the course of a month exploring different approaches to religion. The initial speaker request has been approved but the speaker has since made clear that he wishes for the event to be segregated according to gender. The event organiser has followed agreed processes and raised the issue with university management. The event has been widely advertised and interest levels are high.

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.

Why’s it gotta be a feminist group…? Wouldn’t any self-respecting group be opposed to such segregation?

Anyway, let’s see what they suggest:

It will therefore, for example, be necessary to consider the seating plan for any segregation. For example, if the segregation is to be ‘front to back’, then that may well make it harder for the participants at the back to ask questions or participate in debate, and therefore is potentially discriminatory against those attendees. This issue could be overcome assuming the room can be segregated left and right, rather than front and back

… the hell?

The solution to segregation is… more segregation?

Then they double-down on that “solution”:

On the face of the case study, 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. However, one cannot rule out the possibility that discrimination claims will be made on other grounds. For example, it is arguable that ‘feminism’ (bearing in mind the views of the feminist society referred to in the case study), or some forms of belief in freedom of choice or freedom of association, could fall within the definition of ‘belief’ under the Equality Act.

Again with the feminism…?

In any case, it’s just an awful suggestion. The simpler solution would be to say that no segregation of any sort will be allowed at the school regardless of the speakers’ demands.

Steve Bowen summarizes this well:

In order to accommodate the sexist and misogynistic views of a religious speaker universities are being advised to acquiesce to demands that conflict with fundamental rights of freedom of association and movement… The mere possibility of the provision of such a seating arrangement should be resisted by any secular institution and especially by universities which are supposed to be repositories of free thought and enlightenment. If speakers want to argue for gender or racial segregation at an event they can do so, that is freedom of speech. But they cannot insist on imposing those views as a condition of exercising that freedom.

Maryam Namazie has started a petition condemning this policy guide and I would encourage everyone to sign it:

We, the undersigned, condemn the endorsement of gender apartheid by Universities UK. Any form of segregation, whether by race, sex or otherwise is discriminatory. Separate is never equal and segregation is never applied to those who are considered equal. By justifying segregation, Universities UK sides with Islamist values at the expense of the many Muslims and others who oppose sex apartheid and demand equality between women and men.

(Thanks to Brian for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • CanuckAmuck

    Fuck, yeah, go Krauss! I’m also going to sign that petition against those contemptible cowards comprising University UK.

  • Neko

    Feminists seem to have these surrender monkeys, I mean, Universities UK, running scared. Good work, ladies (and friends).

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    ” there does not appear to be any discrimination on gender grounds merely by imposing segregated seating.”

    WTF? What kind of mental gymnastics do you have to go through to come to the conclusion that segregation is ok if you segregate it in a special way? I agree, the best way to end segregation is to not allow it to happen.

    • Brian Westley

      The “guide” goes on to even point out that other kinds of segregation are illegal:

      Note that decisions can be very fact-dependent, and that the law applies differently in different scenarios. For example, there is an express prohibition in the Equality Act against segregation on racial grounds, and there are also special provisions in relation to single-sex sporting events. The points above are not intended as a substitute for seeking appropriate legal advice.

      Presumably, it would be OK to segregate the audience by skin color, just not by race.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        Yes, we have some sports in which women compete against women and men against men, but I’ve never heard of segregated seating in such events.

  • EdmondWherever

    What they call feminism, I call humanism.

    • http://www.secularview.com/ Dirty_Nerdy

      The terms are not mutually exclusive.

  • onamission5

    Okay, so let me get this straight. The university spokesperson/group thinks that the “beliefs” of certain feminist groups (massive eye roll for that phrasing) might have some protections under the Equality Act, but utterly fails to grasp that discrimination against people for their gender is also covered, and quite plainly so, and that that violation is what these scare-quoted feminists (and any fair minded person with a bit of sense) may turn out to protest. They can grasp that beliefs might be protected but cannot grasp that it’s not actually beliefs but people themselves who are protected. Do I have that right?

    Dear everybody– your religious protections do not extend to you the right to force other people to comply with your religious tenets outside of your mosque/church/temple/other religious structure or location.

    • viddy_well

      Dear everybody– your religious protections do not extend to you the right to force other people to comply with your religious tenets outside of your mosque/church/temple/other religious structure or location.

      If they actually believed that, the gay marriage debate would have ended a long time ago.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        So would the abortion one, and the contraception one, and the paid parental leave one, and the … you get the point.

  • https://soundcloud.com/eddieboydmusic flyb

    People who hold their phones vertically while recording video should be moved to the back of the auditorium.

  • Bill Miller

    Lawrence Krauss for the win!
    I would have hoped that we left “Separate but Equal” behind us.

  • Richard Thomas

    Ahh Islam, aka Christianity Jr.

    • Carla

      I prefer Judaism the Third.

  • http://www.sugarpiesfood.com/ Buck

    Maybe we should send them a copy of Brown v. Board of Education. They seem to think separate but equal is OK in the 21st Century.

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Well at least they’re not “militant feminists”. I guess that’s some sort of progress…

    • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      I’m trying to figure out what kind of person would vote this comment down? A rabid sexist? One of our Christian trolls?

      • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw/ m6wg4bxw

        Perhaps a militant feminist?

  • kashicat

    If they want to have their fucking segregation — PLACE THE MEN AT THE BACK AND THE WOMEN AT THE FRONT.

    (Oh, so that policy would not be acceptable to the religious extremist or to the university? Then the university can damn well behave like human beings and not religious extremists themselves.)

    • Ken

      Why would that be any better? It’s just as discriminatory.

      • Carla

        It’s an example meant to turn the usual situation on its head for illustrative purposes. Women are usually relegated to the back… so putting men in the back still achieves gender segregation while turning the desired effect on it’s head. There’s more than a little sarcasm happening here. I’m pretty sure kashicat doesn’t actually advocate gender segregation…..

  • Glasofruix

    So what are you supposed to do if a Muslim speaker at a public event asks that the audience be segregated?

    “Tough luck buddy, you’re here to talk, not to oogle at the audience”

    • MArk

      I would say to the speaker/” Our way or the highway:)”

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    …to debate…on the question of whether atheism or Islam made more sense.

    It would seem that Professor Krauss won that debate in 42 seconds before the debate even started.

    Someone who has access to medical training materials should send a human spine to Universities UK and any university administrator who even considers kowtowing to the sexism of any speaker who requires segregation in the audience.

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

    “Active feminist society” and “feminism”; clearly they are the problem and not people blindly adhering to ancient dogma. For His Noodley Appendage’s sake it is 2013 here; are we really dealing with the “uppity women” argument here? I have the depressing feeling my grandchildren will be dealing with the “angry atheist” argument long after I’m gone.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Would the University be ok with separate but equal water fountains, as long as they were side by side, left and right???

    • UWIR

      Sex-segregated bathrooms are widely accepted, so clearly segregation is fact-dependent.

  • Firestarter

    I agree with the statement “Both men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way.”

    This is a very political and fair way to address sexist religious beliefs without causing a riot. Both men and women will be limited in their seating choices, but this isn’t any different than the limited choices everyone faces everyday.

    To say segregation is still segregation even when applied to all parties equally without favour, is a kin to complaining about music or movie genres because they discriminate against artists.

    It is no longer an issue of discrimination, but and issue of freedom of choice.

    • onamission5

      How do I have a freedom of choice when I cannot sit where and with whom I wish?

    • Glasofruix

      What about a group of friends who’d like to sit together? They don’t have a choice in your (twisted) reality, do they?

      • firestarter

        I think you are both missing the point. The university clearly eliminated discrimination by limiting choice. Limited choice sucks, but it is not discrimination if applied equally.

        I suggest you both get your heads out your butts if you think freedom of choice and gender equality are the same issue. But then again, certain foolish groups think atheism and gender equality are the same issue.

        What twisted world do you live in?

        • onamission5

          So, in your world, nobody but people with fucked up ideas getting what they want = freedom of choice.

        • Jasper

          The university clearly eliminated discrimination by limiting choice.

          Do you even know what discrimination is? It’s a decision process or judgement based on a metric. For instance, I may discriminate between rotten and non-rotten bananas as the grocery store.

          The very act of divvying up the crowd by gender is definitionally discrimination – the seating location of each person is discriminated versus their gender.

          In this case, it’s a double-discrimination – poorly treating both sides at the same time.

          • The Captain

            Actually he is technically right. “discrimination” is the unjust treatment of different groups of people, meaning one group gets treated differently than another. But if all groups are treated exactly the same, then it’s not “discrimination”, but it’s “segregation”.

            Now as TCC points out, simple “discrimination” has huge problems and most times is not fair to one group. But what these universities are asking for is “segregation” and I feel that also comes with it’s own set of problems. But they ARE different things.

            TLDR: you guys are missing the point and arguing over semantics, and firestatre is actually semantically correct.

            • Jasper

              Segregation is a form of discrimination – that’s the point. They’re not exactly the same thing, in the same sense that while a truck is a “vehicle”, not all vehicles are trucks.

              Look, this is simple. If I were to walk in and decide to sit in Section A, if they disallow me because of my gender, they have discriminated against me because of my gender. That’s the actual mechanism in play. Likewise, if a woman were to walk in and decide to sit in Section B, and she were disallowed because of her gender, they’ve discriminated against her, on the basis of gender, as well.

              Maybe me and that woman wanted to sit in the other sections, and we’ve been denied, putting us into unfavorable situations because of it – qualifying it under the “semantic meaning” he’s talking about.

              So to say that “they eliminated discrimination”, isn’t just incorrect – it’s the opposite – they multiplied it.

              • The Captain

                Are men’s and woman’s bathrooms “discrimination”?

                How about school lunch rooms where children have to sit by grade, are the third graders being “discriminated” against because they can’t sit with the fifth graders? Are women olympic boxers being “discriminated” against since they fight only other women?

                • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, TOWAN

                  science lies behind every form of rational segregation based on type. these are highly limited categories, and a magical sky fairy is not a good one to determine what those should be. it’s not the same thing to say “women, sit in the back of this auditorium because Allah” as it is to say “men have greater upper body strength than women and therefore a fair contest in sport will be men vs men and women vs women in the world of boxing.”

                • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, TOWAN

                  and as for your other examples, meh. i’m queer. i’ve been in more men’s restrooms than many gay men. ;-) it’s religion that teaches that the genders can’t pee and poop together. i really don’t (forgive me) give a shit if it’s a boy, girl, or intergender being next to me in the stall. just hand me the toilet paper if my stall is out. toe tapping and/or baby changing platforms optional.

                • firestarter

                  To go back to my first comment.
                  This was a political move by the university to prevent an uprising/student riot. They used equal treatment to eliminate discrimination and preferential treatment of one gender over another.

                  This victimization of women even after equal fair (but far from ideal) treatment has been ruled and granted has to stop.

                  This ceased being a gender issue the moment both sexes were treated exactly the same way. It then became an issue of freedom of choice/freedom of movement. We do not have that freedom all the time. It is against the law in most places in the world to walk on the highway. You will get a ticket and be detained.

              • UWIR

                “Discrimination” has connotations that does not apply to every difference in treatment, even if a person is getting something other than they want. What if a man wants to be felt-up patted down by a female TSA agent rather than a male one? Is he being discriminated against?

                And how does this multiply discrimination?

            • smrnda

              If a Muslim speaker wants men and women to sit in separate sections, I *kind of * think the real goal in the end is a separate but equal treatment. If men and women raise their hands to ask questions, who is he going to respond to? If women sit with men, he might try to ignore women but he’d be running the chance that a woman would get a man to raise his hand and then he would switch over, hand the woman the microphone and let her ask a question. I have to look into what’s going to happen as a result of segregation before I can say there’s clearly no discrimination.

        • Glasofruix

          Give me ONE valid reason for gender based segregation of audience during a debate about religion.

          • firestarter

            Muslims having the right to practice their f-ed up sexist religion in a free country. Their women continuing to follow said f-ed up faith and the university desperately trying to find a POLITICAL solution that will minimize insult for all parties involved.

            Don’t misunderstand my stance. I do not agree with segregation or discrimination. I only think this was a very politically savvy way to resolve this. This totally eliminated the gender inequality argument, and turned it into a freedom of choice argument.

            If you can’t see the way the university shifted this in a manner that does not make them liable for gender discrimination in the eyes of the law, then you just don’t understand the law.

            I am an atheist and an egalitarian. I am not a humanitarian or a humanist, nor do I have to be.

        • Shiori_hime

          Telling people they can’t sit somewhere because the the genitalia they happen to have is discrimination.

    • TCC

      Right, it’s just like Anatole France said: “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.”

  • Rob P

    “Why’s it gotta be a feminist group…? ”
    Presumably because men will get the preferential treatment and therefore not protest. Which is sexist thinking in and of itself.

  • Jasper

    So, the solution to the problem of black/white segregated schools was to swap which school had which race?

    • UWIR

      That’s not too far off from the thinking that lay behind busing.

  • pillbucket

    Well, Universities UK just convinced me that UK universities are backwards-ass dens of medievalist bullshit that should be disregarded as complete jokes lacking in any intellectual or social merit.

  • Lois

    You know if there was ever a speaker who said that they wanted the audience to be racially segregated, they would simply be told NO. Fortunately, we’ve come to recognize that that is unacceptable. They would be told NO even if they said that their religion forbade different races from interacting. So why is NO not the stock answer when it comes to gender? This is ridiculous. Why do we even give it any consideration? It’s bigotry no matter how you slice it.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Because moral relativism.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Because, sadly, we’ve made more progress in convincing people that white skin is not required to be a real person than in convincing people that a penis is not required to be a real person.

  • chephy

    What’s the point of even TALKING to sexists and religious extremists? Why elevate them to the level at which they feel they have something to offer at a university debate? That sort of an invitation alone implies that their lunacy might have some merit and is worthy of at least a consideration.

    • Neko

      To argue that their views are indefensible?

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Because sunlight is nature’s disinfectant.

  • SecularPatriot

    Hemant, could you put the name of the institution hosting the debate somewhere in your article?

  • Noelle

    In my elementary school assemblies in Ohio in the 80s, we had forced integrated alternated boy girl seating. The idea was that we’d be separated from our usual groups of chosen friends and be quiet and listen to the presentation. I don’t know that it worked. It might’ve even made me more confident to chat with the boys and treat them like fellow equal human beings without that bit of mystery or fear of cooties. (This was especially awesome during magic shows as we discussed how the tricks were really done). It is very foreign to me to hear of a university doling out required seating based on gender. Is this a normal thing in the UK? How can you even begin to enforce such a thing with adults?

  • Trickster Goddess

    I was reading the UUK document last night and it seems to me that their entire premise leading to their “solution” is faulty.

    This case example they present is one part of a document that seeks to advise universities about potential legal situations when inviting outside speakers

    What they seem to be claiming is that universities may be opening themselves to legal liability of denying the freedom of speech if a Muslim man who has been booked to speak but subsequently refuses to if the organizers do not acquiesce to his to his demands that the audience be segregated.

    This of course is nonsense since he is being offered a podium and is in fact being welcomed to speak. If he refuses to take the podium due to a principled stand that he can’t enforce his beliefs on his audience comes nowhere near the concept of denial of free speech.

  • $925105

    Pretty easy to win a debate on whether Atheism or Islam makes more sense as all Krauss has to do is point to the audience and say, “With Atheism, there is no segregated seating.” Drop mike, walks out.

    • Bill Miller

      Hi, I just upvoted. On the other hand it may well be that a lot more people than I would like might regard more separation as a point for Islam.

  • sailor

    I am delighted that university officials are scared of feminists. Now if we just let feminists run the universities this kind of utter bullshit will not rare its ugly head.

  • KeithCollyer

    If they forbade men and women to sit in the same seat, would that work?

  • Sapphire Possible

    Maybe the women should just abandon the religion altogether. It would lose it’s power and influence over their lives, once they turn their backs on a system of imbalance.

  • Erp

    The universities are also running themselves into other quagmires. Some people with disabilities require a companion and that companion needs to sit next to them (and may have a legal right to do so). Frequently that companion (e.g., a spouse) is of the opposite sex. Where are they suppose to sit?

    Now some segregation is legit. Space for wheelchair users, seats for their companions next to that space, seats for people with difficulty walking (i.e., those easier to access). Seats reserved for special guests or for student volunteers in the event. But usually those spaces if not occupied become open to all when packing in the last few people. But having women on one side and men on the other is no more acceptable nowadays than whites on one side and coloreds on the other or Christians on one side and non-Christians on the other. However I suspect a fair number of the Universities UK (formerly known as the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of the Universities of the United Kingdom (CVCP)) are older men who well remember the days of segregation by gender (boys only public schooling, men only colleges within universities) and don’t realize how wrong this is.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      I actually have practical experience with this. I used to work in a theater box office. I was more than happy to help people who had trouble with stairs, were in wheelchairs, etc. to get appropriate seating. I also advised them which entrance to use (or tried to move people who had trouble with steps to the row with the fewest stairs. (Sadly, our theater was built before architects cared about such things.) I also urged them to find an usher if they needed any assistance. (Some people don’t want to ask but that is EXACTLY what ushers are there for!)

      But once someone called at it was clear they didn’t like sitting next to an African American couple. I think I moved them but only because I felt sorry for the black couple having to sit next to racist bigots for an entire series of concerts.

      • Brian

        That last bit reminds me of a tale of a bigot making a fuss of having to sit next to a black person on an airplane. The stewardess responded by moving the black person…

        … to First Class.

        • Little_Magpie

          made of win.

      • smrnda

        What an awkward situation. Where did you move the racists? To sitting behind a post?

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          I don’t remember now, but I know I didn’t give them BETTER seats. There are some other stories. I love when people tell me a story that makes them look racist and then insist that they AREN’T racist. LOL I don’t know who they are trying to convince because I certainly wasn’t.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Not that this is all that analogous but I’m reminded of the time int he 1930s when Marion Anderson was booked to perform at Constitution Hall in Washington DC and canceled when they discovered that she was African American. Her manager searched in vain to find a venue that didn’t have segregated seating (blacks in the balcony) that would allow an African American to perform. There was none. So she sang in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

    The reason I bring this up is that history is kind to (and remembers) people who take moral stands in the face of injustice. Making women sit in the back in 2013 in the UK is absurd. It’s one thing to tolerate other people’s beliefs. Reasonable accommodations about food or scheduling should be made. But we don’t have to mistreat others to accommodate bigotry like this. Good for Krauss for standing up to such nonsense. If you are offended by having to sit in the same section as women, or people of color, or gay people, or anyone else who has just as much right to be there as you do, then you are welcome to leave.

  • rg57

    It’s telling, as you noted, that they refer to feminist groups as the primary objectors to segregated seating. It shows a total cluelessness about the issue, both in regards to who would object to segregation, and who might like it.

    I would never attend an event where I or anyone else had to sit in seating segregated by any protected or similar characteristic (sex, religion, orientation, nationality, race, etc.)

  • Sam Kay

    Regarding Steve Bowen’s comments: The speaker should be allowed to insist on whatever they want, and the University should be allowed to tell that speaker to go fuck him- or her-self. The speaker can insist on being escorted into the auditorium by centaurs for all I care.

  • keddaw

    Here’s what the guide should say as regards segregation:

    The country you are speaking in has decided segregation is a no-no. You are here to argue, at least in part, that segregation is a good thing. If you win the debate we, as a country, may head towards segregation. Until then you don’t get to impose your religiously motivated misogyny on the rest of the population and especially not university students.

  • TheBlackCat13

    I have a compromise: we will segregate men and woman by seat. That means you can’t have a man and a woman sitting in the same seat at the same time.

    No, scratch that, it would ruin all the fun.

  • The Other Weirdo

    What is this to do with feminism? As if feminists would be the only ones to have a problem with this. Just replace “women” with “Jews” and “men” with “Muslims/Christians/Sikhs”, and see what you get.

  • Timothy McLean

    Ah, yes, the “compromise” that satisfies no one.

    • Kevin R. Cross

      That is the nature of compromise. Satisfaction to neither, acceptability to both.

      • Timothy McLean

        I think you have it backwards. A good compromise is equally dissatisfying to both, but an equally dissatisfying compromise is not necessarily good. I’m sure that both groups would be about equally satisfied with bombing the school, but that equal level of satisfaction is pretty low.
        Ideal world, we find the compromise that both sides find about equally acceptable, which also has the highest acceptability level of any such compromise. I’m not sure this one does that.

        This comment brought to you by: SpellCheck, without which approximately 5% of the words in this comment would be misspelled.

        • Kevin R. Cross

          You may indeed have a point. I suppose I’m so used to dealing with attempts to compromise between genuinely near-irredeemably opposed viewpoints that my personal acceptability level is pretty low.

  • onamission5

    This has been bugging me to no end. What is wrong with a compromise on the university’s part which would allow those who want to self-segregate to do so, and also allow those who are not beholden to the same beliefs to intermingle? Provide a section in which people who’d (because of real social pressures) not be able to attend otherwise to sit divvied up into two genders like their religion commands, provide another section of non-segregated seating. Accommodations can be made. Forcing people who are not allowed to sit with each other or not able to attend, or forcing people who wish to sit together to be separated, neither of those options is accommodation.

    • TheBlackCat13

      No, absolutely not. Universities should absolutely not be “accommodating” discrimination. If they want to discriminate, find another venue. A university is the place for them.

      Should a university be “accommodating” to someone who doesn’t want to have blacks in the audience, or wants them in the back? What about someone who wants women to be covered from head to toe, or requires them to be dressed modestly, or forbids them from asking questions?

      We should not “compromise” with discrimination, because compromising with discrimination is saying that discrimination is legitimate and should be supported. It isn’t, and it shouldn’t, especially not in a University.

      The fact that the discrimination is religious-based is no more an excuse than if it was political-based or economics-based. Bad ideas should not get a free pass just because they are religious.

  • Anna

    Is this normal in the UK? I’m more startled by the idea of segregated events being so common that universities would need to have written guidelines on how to deal with them.

  • UWIR

    They made an exception for couples? So, women can be in the front if accompanied by a man?

  • UWIR

    “After watching three people be kicked out of the auditorium for not following this seating plan, ”

    It seems to me that’s the central issue. Were university officials enforcing this guy’s seating whims? Or were the people in charge of this event asserting the right to throw people out?


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