Pagans get equal rights at St Andrews

MANY universities fuss over their quadrangles, but only St Andrews is fretting about pentangles.

The university, whose graduates include Prince William, has decided - on equal rights grounds - to allocate an area for pagan festivals and rituals.

But in return for allowing access to buildings and finding an outdoor space for festivals, the university has imposed a series of rules aimed at taming the wilder side of pagan worship.

Incantations or spells which might be viewed as harmful to believers of other faiths have been banned on university premises. The pagans have also been told there must be no attempts to raise spirits or to call up Satan. And there is to be absolutely no ritual nudity.

But the move has led to controversy, as the town has long been regarded as an important centre for Scottish Christianity. Others have accused the university of political correctness.

A university spokesman said: "The building in question, the Mansefield, is a university building to which the chaplaincy - among other university organisations - has access. The University Court decided that to exclude the Pagan Society from the use of the Mansefield would breach policy on equal rights."

An insider at the Pagan Society said: "We didn't mind not being able to do certain things because of the risk of offending others. But we did object to being told not to do things, because we wouldn't have done them anyway so as not to offend. Being a Pagan does not mean you are a Satanist."