Vice-Chancellor of London Metropolitan University, Malcom Gillies, has said the institution is considering the banning of alcohol sales from some parts of the campus in a bid to make it a more welcoming environment to Muslim students.
“It’s a negative experience – in fact an immoral experience – for a high percentage of our students,” he said.
He went on:
“Many of our students do come from backgrounds where they actually look on [drinking] as a negative. And given that around our campuses you have at least half a dozen pubs within 200m, I can’t see there is such a pressing reason to be cross-subsidising a student activity which is essentially the selling of alcohol.”
“Because there’s no majority ethnic group, I think it [selling alcohol] is playing to particular parts of our society much more [than to others]”.
Gillies’ proposals were described as ‘absurd’ by the current president of the university’s student association. Claire Locke denied that the student view of drinking as described by the Vice-Chancellor was accurate or representative of a majority of students.
The University currently serves 30,000 students from 190 countries, with 20% of these students being Muslim. Since its change of status to a University in 1992 after the merging of two failing polytechnics, it has traditionally been seen at the bottom of academic performance league tables and last year announced that it would be cutting 70% of its courses.
In 2009 it received a fine of £35 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for the misrepresentation of student numbers.
Judging from the Student Association this latest announcement will make the Vice-Chancellor as unpopular with students as he is with faculty after the course culling devastated the Humanities Faculty and was widely condemned as ‘illegitimate process’.