Preventing radicalization in universitiesPosted: 6 July, 2015
The government’s guidance to universities in England and Wales on the `Prevent duty’ contains the following paragraphs (120,1):
Universities have a clear role to play in the welfare of their students and we would expect there to be sufficient chaplaincy and pastoral support for all students.
As part of this, we would expect the institution to have clear and widely available policies for the use of prayer rooms and other faith-related facilities. These policies should outline arrangements for managing prayer and faith facilities (for example an oversight committee) and for dealing with any issues arising from the use of the facilities.
The use of the term `prayer rooms’ does make clear which faith is being targeted here. A few years ago, however, Bristol University’s Christian Union barred women from speaking unaccompanied at its events:
We understand that this [women teaching] is a difficult issue for some and so decided that women would not teach on their own at our CU:Equip meetings [its principal weekly meeting], as the main speaker on our Bristol CU weekend away or as our main speaker for mission weeks.
If such a thing happens again, is an academic or other member of university staff expected to note this affront to the `fundamental British value’ of `individual liberty’ and report the Christian Union for extremism?