Dear Vice Chancellors
Here is your chance. Even though some of you sit on the board of Universities UK (UUK), now you have a chance to make a stand for Scottish universities and state unequivocally that the abhorrent guidance on external speakers issued recently by UKK does not apply to Scottish universities.
The document mandates any British university to accede unconditionally to the conditions imposed by any external speaker who demands a gender segregated audience.
Indeed, in the Orwellian newspeak language of the UUK document, it is the “imposition” of an “unsegregated” area contravening the “genuinely held religious belief” of the speaker demanding segregation that British universities should oppose so that the “freedom of speech of the religious group or speaker is not curtailed unlawfully”.
Do you really want your female students to be treated as sex objects and second-class citizens and to be marshalled into special female-only pens so that the “genuinely held religious belief” of external speakers is not challenged? Would you have acceded to the demand for race segregated audiences by the Dutch Reformed Church (before it apologised for its role in propping up apartheid)?
(Dr) Manfredi La Manna
Reader in Economics
University of St Andrews