Sexual Apartheid in University College, London (w/ Spanish and Polish translations)

Apr 2, 2013

Lawrence Krauss has told me of a remarkable meeting at University College, London last night  (March 9th) where he had a debate with a Muslim spokesman.

A few days ago, I had received a tip-off from somebody who had made an inquiry about tickets: ‘We contacted the organizers today and learnt that "as for seating, it is according to when the ticket was booked and gender”.’

“Gender”?  Seating at a public event in UCL organized by gender?

I passed this on to Lawrence, with the suggestion that he might consider withdrawing from the whole affair. He immediately asked the organizers, who assured him that the audience would not be segregated by sex, and Lawrence agreed to go ahead.

When he got to the meeting he discovered that actually the seating in the auditorium was indeed segregated by sex. There was a men’s section, a women’s section, and a “couples” section. Did the “couples” have to produce a marriage certificate, one can’t help wondering? And, while wondering such things, what would have been the reaction of the audience if they had been segregated, as in apartheid South Africa, into a black section, a white section and a “coloureds” section?

When Lawrence realised that he had been duped, he immediately secured permission from the organizers to announce that – contrary to previous instructions – people could sit wherever they wanted. Three young men, described by Lawrence as nice gentle guys, then got up and moved to the women’s section in the back. “In the back”, by the way, may resonate with those who remember Rosa Parks in Alabama in 1955. Security guards then tried to eject the three young men. Lawrence went to find out why, and the guards told him the three were a “threat”. Threat to whom, one wonders?

Lawrence then packed his bag and walked out, explaining why he was doing so, and this part of the evening’s events was filmed by Dana Sondergaard on a smartphone. She sent the film to Lawrence and has said that I can re-post it her. Her own eye-witness account of the event is on her Facebook page, here:

After Lawrence walked out, the organizers, perhaps worried about adverse publicity, ran after him and persuaded him to come back, agreeing to let the three young men return to their seats in the “women’s section”. Unfortunately in my opinion, Lawrence agreed to return. It was a decent gesture on his part, but I can’t help wishing he had refused and generated maximum publicity for this disgraceful episode. I suspect that he too now regrets his bending over backwards to be polite, and to return. I also regret that more people didn’t move along with the three men, and it’s a bit of a shame that no women, in the spirit of Rosa Parks, moved to the men’s section.

It is unclear whether the UCL authorities were aware that sexual apartheid was being practised in one of their lecture rooms, but we may hope that a full inquiry will be launched.

University College, London is celebrated as an early haven of enlightened free thinking, the first university college in England to have a secular foundation, and the first to admit men and women on equal terms. Heads should roll.

Isn’t it really about time we decent, nice, liberal people stopped being so pusillanimously terrified of being thought “Islamophobic” and stood up for decent, nice, liberal values?



Apartheid Sexual en el University College de Londres





Lawrence Krauss me ha platicado de una singular reunión en el University Collegede Londres, la noche del 9 de marzo, en la que debatió con un portavoz musulmán.

Unos días antes yo había sido alertado por alguien que había hecho preguntas respecto a las entradas al debate: 'Hoy contactamos a los organizadores y nos enteramos que "con respecto a la asignación de asientos, esta será de acuerdo a la fecha de reservación y al género (sexo)".'

¿"Género"? ¿La signación de asientos en un evento público de la UCL, organizado por género?

Avisé de esto a Lawrence, con la sugerencia de que tal vez debería considerar retirarse de todo el asunto. Él inmediatamente llamó a los organizadores, quienes le aseguraron que la audiencia no sería segregada por sexo y Lawrence accedió a proseguir.

Cuando llegó a la reunión descubrió que, de hecho, la asignación de lugares en el auditorio estaba segregada por sexo. Había una sección de hombres, una de mujeres y otra de "parejas". Uno no puede dejar de preguntarse si las "parejas" habrán tenido que mostrar algún tipo de certificado de matrimonio… Y, ya que estamos en esto, ¿cuál hubiera sido la reacción del público si hubiesen sido segregados, como en la Sudáfrica del apartheid, en una sección de negros, una de blancos y otra de "coloreados"?

para continuar al artículo en español 


Apartheid płci w University College w Londynie

Autor tekstu: 

Tłumaczenie: Małgorzata Koraszewska

Lawrence Krauss opowiedział mi o zdumiewającym spotkaniu wczoraj wieczorem (9 marca) w University College w Londynie, gdzie odbył debatę z rzecznikiem muzułmańskim.

Kilka dni temu dowiedziałem się o tym spotkaniu od kogoś, kto zadzwonił z pytaniem o bilety: "Skontaktowaliśmy się dzisiaj z organizatorami i dowiedzieliśmy się, że 'jeśli chodzi o miejsca, zależy to od tego, kiedy bilet został zamówiony oraz od płci'".

„Płci"? Rozmieszczenie słuchaczy na publicznym spotkaniu w UCL zorganizowane zostało z segregacją według płci?

Przekazałem to Lawrence’owi, sugerując, że może powinien zastanowić się nad wycofaniem z debaty. Natychmiast zapytał organizatorów, którzy zapewnili go, że sala nie będzie podzielona według płci i Lawrence zgodził się przyjść.

Czytaj dalej

Written By: Richard Dawkins
continue to source article at

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.