Oxford’s Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) will host this year’s annual general meeting of the Society of Homeopaths on 18 March, in the face of criticism from scientists and sceptics.
Though the Society of Homeopaths is accredited by the UK Professional Standards Authority, homeopathy has been widely questioned by the wider scientific community. In a 2010 report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee, the practice was described as “scientifically implausible”.
The National Health Service website states: “There is no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition.”
Project Director of the Good Thinking Society, Michael Marshall, told Cherwell: “Given that homeopathy has been comprehensively demonstrated to have no beneficial effect for any health condition, it is the very antithesis of the kind of intellectually-rigorous ideas one would expect to see promoted within a university as prestigious as the University of Oxford.”
The Good Thinking Society is a non-profit organisation aiming “to promote science and challenge pseudoscience.” It ran a successful campaign to stop NHS funding of homeopathy by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Liverpool. In September, the organisation criticised the Charity Commission for refusing to deregister homeopathy groups.
In regards to Lady Margaret Hall’s hosting of the annual general meeting, Mr Marshall commented: “Nobody is calling for Lady Margaret Hall to stop accepting bookings for external events altogether, or even to accept only the events which explicitly align with their ethos; they should, however, enforce a policy that ensures they are not inadvertently lending their name to disproven and potentially dangerous quackery.
A spokesperson for Lady Margaret Hall told Cherwell: “Lady Margaret Hall, in common with many universities and colleges, occasionally rents space for other organisations to meet and for private conferences. This is a purely commercial arrangement. The act of renting space and providing food or accommodation to a group – whether it is a business or charity – obviously does not imply that LMH in any way endorses the organisation. We do not lend it ‘credibility.’ The income from this hospitality business is important to the College to sustain its academic activities.