Earlier this month, he said: “There are students who do come from a tradition
that stays alcohol is evil and they need to feel that they have a place at
London Metropolitan University.
“They don’t have to feel that this is an alcoholic environment, we are an
educational environment, we are not seeking to push particular cultural or
gastronomic values, we meet the needs of our students as they actually are.”
an open letter, students have now reprimanded Prof Gillies for
failing to consult all students on any proposed alcohol ban and have
demanded a retraction and an apology for his comments.
They said: “There has never been a demand for an alcohol ban on campus from
Muslim or non-Muslim students.
“The Muslim population at London Met stands at approximately 20 per cent, so
assuming all Muslims at the campus were in favour of the ban, this could not
be imposed as it would go against the fundamental principal of democracy.”
They said the argument to ban alcohol on religious grounds had led to
anti-Muslim feeling on campus and across the country and claimed it had led
to confrontations in the student union.
“It is only a matter of time before a Muslim student is physically assaulted,”
“We find your argument to ban alcohol on religious grounds baseless, divisive
and irresponsible and we are concerned about the welfare of the students.
“Such an unreasonable proposal which clearly many non-Muslims view as an
attack by Muslims against their way of life, is absolutely of no benefit to
the Muslim students and the wider Muslim community at all.
“In fact it demonises them even more and it will be used as baseless evidence
to show how Britain is becoming a ‘shariastate’, particularly by far right
groups such as the EDL who have already capitalised upon this and added it
to their campaign against minority groups.”
The societies added they believed the cultural issues were being used as an
excuse to justify a potentially unpopular decision not to renew the bar’s
They said: “To use Muslim students to justify cuts is not acceptable and
“If the university finds that running the bars is not economically viable then
you should put forward a ‘business case’ and not a ‘religious case’ to
justify the closure of bars and the creation of an alcohol-free campus.
“Your undemocratic, ill devised and misleading remarks have caused tension
within the university campus and in the wider society; therefore we demand a
retraction of your comments and an unreserved apology.”
A spokeswoman from London Metropolitan University said Prof Gillies now plans
to meet with members of the societies.
She said: “As a university with students drawn from a very wide range of
cultures, ethnicities and religions, we recognise the different student
experiences that we need to cater for at the University.
“London Met has no plans to implement a ‘blanket ban’ on alcohol across
its campuses, rather it is about the very practical realities of a student
life that may involve going to class in the morning and needing a place to
work later in the day.”
In an email to students last week Vice-Chancellor Gillies said: “My concern as
your vice-chancellor is to create a supportive environment for all students.
If we admit you as a student you need to feel that your views and beliefs
are respected, and that you can concentrate on your studies.”
London Metropolitan University was founded in 2002. It has 30,000 students
from 190 countries.
Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/9235874/Muslim-students-condemn-divisive-and-irresponsible-university-alcohol-ban.html