Pathetic isn't quite the right word to describe Melbourne University's support of an Islamic organisation that directs any human born with a vagina to go to the back of the room. Perhaps hypocritical is more accurate, given that Melbourne markets itself as a bastion of human rights education, global citizenship and social inclusion.

There is a civic responsibility that accompanies being a leader in education and the university appears to have forgotten it somewhere in the apparently ambiguous space between social inclusion and culturally imbibed misogyny. But perhaps we should not be surprised.

In the past decade, universities have been issued with increasing requests for special treatment of groups seeking shelter from the basic democratic responsibility of treating their fellow human beings as equals. The requests are often made by groups claiming religious exemption to have separate prayers rooms in universities that are constitutionally interfaith.