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Jack Straw: Universities 'wrong to segregate sexes'

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

The former home secretary Jack Straw told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he believes it is "wrong" for universities "to indulge such extraordinary behaviour".

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, explained that the group is "not talking about universities enforcing segregation".

She said: "If the university decided that there was pressure being put on women [to sit in a certain place], it wouldn't let this event go ahead."

"[However], if people feel more comfortably about sitting separately…then universities have to listen to these views," she added.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday 12 December 2013.