… the Labour Party’s spokesperson, Chuka Umunna, who was way out in front on the UUK gender segregation scandal. Before any other politician went on record, Umunna spoke very strongly on BBC Radio.

Go here and start listening at 2:45:17.

“I was horrified by what I heard in that report. Let me be absolutely clear. A future Labour government would not tolerate or allow … segregation in our universities. It offends basic norms in our society. Universities are public funded places of research and teaching… There is no place for state-sponsored segregation… We won’t have it.”

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2 Responses to “UD’s British Friend Howell Reminds her to Feature…”

  1. Farah Mendlesohn Says:

    As I have pointed out already, there is an awful lot of state sponsored segregation in our universities. Who do you think pays for university sports teams?

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Farah: The distinction that’s been made throughout has to do with the nature of a public meeting at a university. You are perfectly right that there are circumstances (sports teams) where the players will usually be all of one gender (though I assume you’re aware that all American university sports programs have women in administrative positions overseeing all teams of both genders, and several universities – Rutgers, for one example – have coaches and athletic directors who are women). But a football team is not a public gathering. Try sex segregating the football stadium and see what happens.

    A church may sex segregate at its own, private, religious gatherings, and indeed a religious sect may segregate much more broadly in its private religious life.

    The all ultra-orthodox Jewish New York town of Kiryas Joel is currently being sued by the ACLU because it contains a tax-payer supported public park which the town has sex segregated.

    When a particular state is paying for your particular activities; and, more deeply, when those activities are open to the public of that state, a public which proceeds with its civic life under certain fundamental assumptions (freedom of assembly, freedom from bigotry, egalitarianism, equality of the sexes), you cannot (as the unfortunate UUK is now discovering) simply decide one day that it’s okay to abridge those rights. You cannot decide that, no, actually, this is Saudi Arabia, not England, and this country does not guarantee freedom for its citizens. You cannot decide that since it offends some men in England that women take to the public domain and drive, then women can’t drive. That since it offends some men that women sit next to men, women can’t sit next to men.

    These men are free to rent rooms where they can play out their sex fantasies. They may not impose those fantasies on the public in the public domain.

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