Students in Aberystwyth are pushing for thousands of Gideon Bibles to be removed from university accommodation.
A poll conducted by the students’ union claims that more than half of students felt that having the Bibles in university accommodation as a matter of course was “uncomfortable” or “unacceptable”.
The call to ban Bibles mirrors action by the University of Huddersfield in 2013 – it said it wanted its properties to be “ethically neutral”.
Student John David Morgan raised the matter at a student council meeting that 50 people attended in January.
He claimed that the “inclusion of Bibles in university bedrooms is inappropriate in a multicultural university such as Aberystwyth”.
The student went on to say: “It could be offensive for some, and the university should provide a safe space for students to explore and develop their beliefs in a neutral environment”.
Support and encouragement
A spokesman for The Christian Institute said: “It is hard to imagine how a person could actually be offended by a Bible simply being in their room.
“The Gideons have been supplying Bibles free of charge for over a century now, providing support and encouragement for Christians and non-Christians alike.
“Banning the Bible because some people might be uncomfortable with it would be a huge overreaction.
“Students who feel uncomfortable having a Bible in their room could instead see this as an opportunity to try and engage with it.
“Local evangelical churches and the Christian Union will be only too happy to help them.”
The University of Huddersfield’s decision to remove Bibles from its student accommodation was branded ‘anti-Christian’ by a retired local minister, Revd Mike Smith.
Tragic and bizarre
Last year nationwide hotel chain Travelodge removed Bibles from all of its rooms in a move criticised by the Church of England.
A spokesman said: “It seems both tragic and bizarre that hotels would remove the word of God for the sake of ergonomic design” or “economic incentive”.
The motion calls for all of the Bibles in university bedrooms to be removed at the end of the current academic year.