Rights debate sparked as York U student refuses to work with women

A York University student’s refusal to work with women for religious reasons has pitted a professor against the university’s administration.

Professor Paul Grayson, who was contacted by a student from his online sociology class, wanted to deny the request but was instructed by a university dean to accept.

Grayson believes that the university’s decision is a clear indication that religious sensitivities take priority over women’s rights.

Professor Grayson was contacted by the student in September who was concerned about a focus group project, the course’s only out-of-home requirement.

According to The Toronto Star, the student’s request stated that he had chosen to complete his BA online because of strict religious beliefs and that he would be unable to meet with the majority of his group because they are women.

Grayson’s immediate reaction was to deny the request, but felt it was a large enough issue to pass on to administration.

He was then surprised to receive instruction from the university to accept the student’s request.

York University’s administration stated that students in online courses should be given the same allowances as distance students, who are often given allowances for group projects.

This reasoning, however, does not ring true for Grayson, who believes this situation is fundamentally different.

Both the university and Grayson sought input from the Ontario Human Rights Code, which states that accommodations based on religious reasons are required.

Despite the university’s ruling, Grayson contacted the student online to explain why he could not accept the request. According to Grayson, the student was understanding and agreed to complete the assignment.

While the incident could spark disciplinary action against Grayson, he is confident it will not.


With information from The Toronto Star and CTV News
Photo source: http://mature-students.blog.yorku.ca/

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