Louise Allonby

As the A-Level results came out last week, I imagine one establishment was wondering why applications through the clearing system had fallen off a cliff. That university is Goldsmith’s College in London – which has banned burgers (and indeed all meat products) in the drive to tackle climate change.

Burgers, kebabs and other “junk” food are as much a part of the university experience as over-indulging in alcohol and turning up to cruelly-scheduled 9am lectures looking distinctly green about the gills. Burgers and booze are inherent to the higher education of our future leaders.

But the virtue signalling Goldsmiths staff clearly aren’t fully on board with this crucial aspect of student life.

Quite what this ban will actually achieve is obviously a moot point. In itself, it is a drop in the ocean; and I bet that very same university is still flogging plastic drinks bottles in their thousands.

Of course, there will be plenty of students who will feel virtuous in depriving themselves of the delights of an on-campus burger. The act of self-denial signals to the wider world their dedication to the green cause – and I’m sure that when they jet off on their summer holidays next year (conveniently forgetting the effect that will have on their carbon footprint), they can pat themselves on the back for their heroic contribution to saving the planet for future generations.

Like giving up things for Lent or Ramadan, self-denial often has a religious aspect to it – and there is no greater modern “religion” than that of climate change. It’s about morality and ethics and caring – and if you don’t sign up to the cause espoused by the likes of Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, then by association you are immoral, unethical and uncaring.

If burger bans are the way modern universities are headed (when they’re not too busy non-platforming speakers and tearing down statues of colonial benefactors), thank goodness my university days are long behind me.

Rev Nick Donnelly

Goldsmiths College’s decision to ban beef burgers is unlikely to have a significant impact on human carbon emissions, so why single out this popular staple of students’ diets? Like the plastic straw, the burger has become a symbol of evil for climate change activists. Banning the burger isn’t about a science-based response but is about politically correct ‘puritanism’. As with all things PC, this is about symbols and language. What Goldsmiths has actually done is to ‘no-platform’ beef burgers.

Instead of being bastions of free speech and intellectual debate, so essential to the education of curious and enquiring minds, universities are in the grip of a totalitarian political movement that excludes anyone who questions or challenges politically correct puritanism. University commissars have so far no-platformed feminists who challenge transgenderism, pro-lifers who question abortion, patriots who oppose globalism and human rights advocates who criticise no-platforming.

The presence of beef burgers on university campuses is an affront to the PC ideology of climate change, so the burger is banned and the freedom of students is curtailed. This isn’t about saving the planet; this is all about coercive power and controlling people’s lives.

Universities should not be frightened of, or offended by, individuals exercising freedom and asking questions.

Jesus loved questions and his whole way of teaching was through dialogue and questioning (Mark 8:14-21; 8:27).

Discussion and argument are at the heart of Jesus’ use of parables, exemplified by the common introduction, ‘What do you think?’

Jesus leaves the listener with questions to which He gives the answer in such a way that the listener must form the answer himself.

Likewise, Goldsmiths should hold the ‘Great Burger Debate’, to enable students to question and argue, and come to the answer themselves.

Tom Murphy

Banning one food item from one campus is not going to save the world.

Goldsmiths’ announcement comes off as a cry to be relevant amongst the recent “declare an environment emergency” headlines.

Their other promises of installing solar panels, charging a 10p levy on bottled water and single use plastic cups, are at least changes that over time will contribute to reducing climate change.

A report by the government’s advisory committee on change also advised against banning all lamb products. So where is the university’s ban on kebabs, another staple of the student diet and something that frequently becomes a student’s means of soaking up the alcohol from a night out, allowing them to maybe, just maybe, make it to that lecture.

The report is basing the ban of all beef and lamb products on the idea that as well as reducing the production of greenhouse gases, it would free up hectares of land that could be used to plant forests or produce other means of soaking up harmful gases. Therefore, it sounds like they are suggesting banning the breeding of cows and lambs. On this logic shouldn’t Goldsmiths be banning all beef, lamb and dairy products from the campus too? Does that mean cheesy chips should go as well? What about leather bound notebooks?

The banning of beef items is hardly going to make a huge impact.

However, have they looked at paper free? What about the gases produced from the thousands of photocopies that will be made for the academic year? Maybe if all universities found a way around that alongside solar panels, they would start to make a dent in reducing our carbon emissions.