Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We will not spy on our students - Bournemouth University

reposted from: - see pg 5.
Chris Street comments are in bright green;
highlights in yellow blockquotes.

UNIVERSITY lecturers and staff across Britain could be sent a secret 18-page document within weeks asking them to spy on “Asian-looking” and Muslim students in general. But Bournemouth University have blasted the plans as ‘ridiculous’ and insist they will not infringe basic human rights of students.

David Hart, the Head of Chaplaincy at Talbot campus said: “Bournemouth University will do what it has always done; continue promoting freedom of speech and equality.” The government document is currently being drafted by the Department of Education. Its aim is to submit a series of proposals to universities and other centres of higher education as the government believe that campuses have become “fertile recruiting grounds”, for extremists, national newspapers have reported. The government fear the political strength of Islamic student groups which have become increasingly politicised in the wake of the War On Terror and the possibility that Islamic moderates will be ‘sucked’ into extremism.

Gemma Tumelty, President of the National Union of Student’s has slammed the proposals as a step backwards. She said: “They are going to treat everyone Muslim with suspicion on the basis of their faith. It’s bearing on the side of McCarthyism.” Abdul Kapadia, a Muslim student at Bournemouth University and member of its Muslim Society has strong feelings towards the proposed document. He said: “I feel very badly about this draft . In every religion there are good people and bad people. “There are the average Muslims and then there are the tiny percentages of extremists. You cannot suspect everyone.”

Head of Chaplaincy, Hart, went on to add that Bournemouth University
always looks out for extremism - regardless of religion – in order to protect its students.
He said:
“We look out for any type of extremist religion that could be seen as unhealthy whether Christian or otherwise so that everyone can feel safe and comfortable.
Bournemouth University’s Diversity and Equality Advisor, Emma Stephens believes that government have overstepped the mark in their bid to combat terrorism. She said: “The government have a responsibility to be seen to be doing something about terrorism; this time however its efforts have been channelled in a ridiculous direction.”

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