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Universities UK advice 'violates women's freedom'

11 December 2013 Last updated at 10:21 GMT

Universities UK has advised its members that, in certain circumstances, segregated seating for male and female students would be allowed if requested by speakers from orthodox religious groups.

This decision comes a few weeks after Abishek Phadnis and Chris Moos, at the London School of Economics, were forced to cover their T-shirts - depicting Jesus and the Prophet Muhammad - by student union officials.

Mr Phadnis explained that although they have asked the university for evidence of official complaints made against them by students, "so far [they] haven't received any".

"They haven't said who complained, they haven't told us how many people complained," he continued.

One woman taking part in a demonstration outside the head offices of Universities UK, told the Today programme's Justin Webb: "I stand firmly against this segregation. It's a decision that is going to take us backwards.

Ms Akram continued: "It is a violation of women's freedom to sit wherever they want.

"Universities are the place for planting freedom of thinking and freedom of speech."

The LSE, their student union and Universities UK were all asked to comment, but declined.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday 11 December 2013.

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