9 September 2016
Eric Heinze, Professor of Law and Humanities at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), authors 'On when a face veil is and isn’t a problem in lectures' in Times Higher Education. In the article he writes: “It would be wrong to conclude that face coverings should be admitted in all circumstances. We need something more nuanced than the all-or-nothing approaches. Universities offer examples of where burkas do and do not pose problems… For the lecturer who needs to explain cellular photosynthesis or atomic half-life, it may matter little whether the auditorium seats 30 or 3,000, or whether one is present at all. Students can easily watch a taped lecture months later, thousands of miles away. They can wrap themselves in a dozen veils or can sit at their computers stark naked. The lecturers may not feel that those topics require the study of individual opinions.
“But other lecturers may seek models of communication whereby students interact not as individual data absorbers but as fully fledged citizens. Those lecturers must retain the prerogative to insist on facial exposure when they launch discussions on themes illustrative of citizens’ self-government.”