London Met v-c urged to apologise for alcohol comments

The president of London Metropolitan University students’ union has called for the vice-chancellor to apologise after he suggested the sale of alcohol should be banned from parts of the campus because some Muslim students believed drinking was “immoral”.

April 14, 2012

Claire Locke said Malcolm Gillies had "offended" Muslim students by generalising about their beliefs. There had been no calls from students to create alcohol-free areas on the London Met campus, she said.

Ms Locke argued that London Met's Muslim students were “respectful of other people’s cultures”. Muslim students’ union officers were currently fighting for a new student bar to be opened at the university’s City campus, she added.

Ms Locke said it was not true that Muslim students did not drink, and that in the previous academic year three out of the four Muslim students’ union officers had drunk alcohol. “He should retract the comments and apologise to the students he has offended,” she said.

Responding to her comments, Professor Gillies said that the Islamic prohibition against alcohol was “quite clear”, although the practice of Muslims regarding drink varied.

“It’s indisputably clear because it’s immoral [in Islam],” he said. “If you speak to virtually any Muslim student they will tell you what their teaching is.”

Professor Gillies said that some students, particularly Muslim women, would feel uncomfortable attending university events in a pub, for example, and that the concerns he raised could apply to other groups such as American Protestants or Buddhists.

“What we don’t want is the tyranny of a majority view,” he said, arguing that universities needed to have spaces where any type of student felt comfortable.

The proposals have generated a largely negative response online.

Speaking about the reaction to Professor Gillies’ comments, Ms Locke said: “I think it’s been extremely unhelpful [for London Met]. I don’t think the vice-chancellor has thought this through properly.”

She said that the university was shutting down a building called the Hub, which contains a bar, and the union was seeking a replacement. “Is he just generalising [about] the Muslim community in order to justify cuts to the student services?” she asked.

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

sitting by statue

Institutions told they have a ‘culture of excluding postgraduates’ in wake of damning study