The country’s second most stuck-up university (don’t deny it Sajini!) has banned hoodies, scarves that obscure the face and veils. As a University of London hack, I actually heard about this about a month ago and I do apologise for taking so long to bring it to your attention. However it has allowed me to cobble together a bit more information. The story first broke in my paper’s big sister, London Student and has been covered widely in the student press, including Imperial College’s own paper (boo! hiss!), Felix.
Imperial College has demanded that all students must have their entire face and ID card visible at all times. No clothing which obscures any part of the face is permitted. The reasoning given for this move is “the terrorist incidents which occurred over the summer”. Imperial College they could be a potential target for terrorists due to all sorts of hazardous chemicals being stored, but they also face a (bigger) threat from animal rights activists, as they carry out quite a large amount of research on animals.
At my own medical school, I recently got embroiled in a dispute between the medschool and the Islamic Society with regard to some female Muslim students who wore a facial veil. One of the senior staff members complained that it was unacceptable for the girls to have their faces covered when speaking to patients and I agreed. Another reason given, somewhat similarly to at Imperial, was that if a person’s face was covered, an ID badge would become obsolete and we are required to wear badges whilst in any clinical area (e.g. a ward). As you might expect, the whole thing escalated courtesy of some fundas-in-training and it ended with the girls actually leaving. Since then St. George’s has banned veils in certain parts of the medschool.
IC’s Student Union have claimed that ID badges could easily be forged by wannabe terrorists, which seems a rather daft retort. They also questioned how the rule would be enforced when the Imperial campus has a public thoroughfare straight through it. A particularly irksome part of the ruling is that “offensive” clothing is also banned. How this is a security risk, I don’t know. Perhaps wearing a “I LOVE BUSH (the pussy not the President)” could spark a terrorist attack.
Some people have told me that Muslim women who do wish to wear a full niqab or burqa would be further maligned from society if they are not permitted to study at certain higher education establishments, even if they just want to end up a researcher in a lab, a writer or simply study for a degree. My gut reaction would be that if you wish to dress like that, you are automatically distancing yourself from Western society where the face plays a key role in all interactions, so should you really be complaining about quite rational rules? Crucially, the ban does not affect women wearing the hijab. The inclusion of the hoodie is perhaps more controversial, what would Lady Sovereign say? The Union President, Sameena Misabahuddin said “I certainly won’t be enforcing the hoodies ruling”.
I was a teenage troublemaker with a hoodie, which I still own. I shall be wearing it around Imperial to see what happens. Will keep you posted
Now I’m off to drink for 24 hours…starting from midnight!
Picture credit – Oliver Pell
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Filed in: Current affairs,Religion