People are furious after the Islamic society at a top British University thought it was OK to separate men and women at a social event with a curtain. The event in question was the annual dinner hosted by the London School of Economics’ Islamic society at the Grand Connaught Rooms in central London.
According to The Daily Mail, men and women attending the event had to purchase separate tickets depending on their gender, and once they arrived at the dinner they found the room was divided in half by a seven-foot high curtain.
London School of Economics (LSE) is one of the most prestigious educational institutes in the world. It is part of the “golden triangle” of elite British universities along with institutions like Oxford and Cambridge.
Here is what the curtain looked like, you can see it running right down the middle of the room.
And here’s another picture of two people at the edge of the curtain. It was posted on Facebook along with a reference to the Adele song “Hello.”
Alan Smithers, the director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, told The Telegraph he was surprised LSE allowed the event to go ahead.
The point of university is to engage in a wide-range of experiences and it is surprising that the university that should let a segregated event of this kind go forward.
Some people on social media were pretty angry about the curtain.
The actions of the Islamic society have been defended by Nona Buckley-Irvine, the head of LSE’s student union. She was actually at the dinner and told The Telegraph she didn’t think anything was wrong with the event. Despite the huge curtain dividing the room.
I went as the head of the students union because I support our faith societies. There were absolutely no tensions, it was a relaxed evening. Brothers and sisters were co-hosting the event, which was one of the best I’ve been to. It was a celebration of each other and each other talents.
Buckley-Irvine added that “everyone went through the same entrance” and “men and women were talking throughout.”
An LSE spokesman said while it would be illegal to segregate events on LSE property, the dinner was held off-campus. They said LSE would be raising the issue with the Islamic society and the student union.
The spokesman said: “LSE follows the EHRC guidance on this matter, and regards gender segregation at events on campus or organised by LSE or the LSE community as contrary to the law, except for certain exceptions such as occasions of religious worship or where segregation is entirely voluntary. This dinner was a private function, off-campus, and organised by a society of the Students’ Union, which itself is a legally separate body to LSE.”
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