The Vice Chancellor of London Metropolitan University says he wants to create alcohol-free areas on campus out of respect for Muslim students, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Professor Malcolm Gillies – an Australian music scholar – told the paper he was consulting with staff and students about creating the dry spaces out of “cultural sensitivity” as part of a major redesign of the University’s two campuses.
Reports say a fifth of students at the university come from Muslim families – many of them young women from traditional homes.
Prof Gillies told The telegraph that for many of these students, the drinking culture was a hindrance to their university experience.
The academic made his plans public during a discussion on how to accommodate minorities at a conference of university officials earlier this month.
Professor Gillies was quoted as saying, “(Drinking) is a negative experience – in fact an immoral experience – for a high percentage of our students. And given that around our campuses you have at least half a dozen pubs within 200 metres, I can’t see there is such a pressing reason to be cross-subsiding a student activity which is essentially the selling of alcohol.”
He added, “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.”
His comments were welcomed by anti-alcoholism campaigners, including Paul Morrison, Policy Adviser for the Methodist Church, and a strong advocate against excessive drinking. “We think that local communities should be able to choose how alcohol is consumed in their areas because in some places it is perfectly acceptable but in other places it is antisocial,” he said.
- Staff Reporter