York university dean orders accommodation of male student who won't work with women

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fortunate

Elle Fury wrote:

All patriarchal religions need to die before there can be equality of the sexes. All women should reject them. I never understood how any woman can be  attracted to religions that support the supremecy of male dieties and prophets. It is not surprising that males in the west would use religion to justify discrimination against females. Religion always provides refuge for sexism.

 

 

Women have always taken what they need from these religions, and put into them what they want.    Mary is not a saint, but the catholic religion encourages prayers to her and female saints.   Women who follow religions like these find ways to focus on the feminine, i believe.    

Plus, i think they can sense that the majority of religions are reinterpretations of less male dominated belief systems.   There are many based in female culture, of older woman younger man.  Mother/son.   Rebirth, etc.    Without Mary the mother, there is no Christianity, in other words.   Without the birth, which only women can do, in other words.     It seems male dominant, it is male dominant, but the only reason the Catholic church exists today is more due to the women who prop it up.   

 

There are a few articles out there that describe how most of Catholic stuff is based on pagan god and goddess worship, to make it easier to convert the pagans to Christianity.   

6079_Smith_W

Just because some women support that system, just because some people find their own way within it, and just because it is a "catholic" church doesn't change or excuse the essential anti-woman, anti-reproductive choice message, and the patriarchal structure.

These systems still actively promote sexism, and give people like this student an excuse to run with their own ideas. And while I don't see a direct hand in this, I'm not about to excuse the many things they are doing.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

The worst thing about patriarchy is that some of its strongest proponents are women.

Unionist

With respect - and I do despise religion, as many of you know - I don't think this story is about religion at all. Yes, all known religions treat women like crap, and there is and should be much discussion about that.

Please note that even York - while flailing for life here - has claimed that they did not grant the student's request on the basis of religious accommodation.

And this story is not about some individual anonymous student. Lots of people have their own more or less backward opinions. We shouldn't get too worked up about the backward opinions of a powerless individual.

What is frightening, to me, is the cavalier way, on the flimsiest of pretexts, in which York accedes to a request for segregation of men and women. It shows, to me anyway, the fragility of gender equality in our society. And while it's heartening that virtually everyone is coming out against York on this issue, much of it is being used as a cover for Islamophobia (one example of many) or other kinds of cultural supremacy.

pookie

Unionist wrote:

With respect - and I do despise religion, as many of you know - I don't think this story is about religion at all. Yes, all known religions treat women like crap, and there is and should be much discussion about that.

Please note that even York - while flailing for life here - has claimed that they did not grant the student's request on the basis of religious accommodation.

And this story is not about some individual anonymous student. Lots of people have their own more or less backward opinions. We shouldn't get too worked up about the backward opinions of a powerless individual.

What is frightening, to me, is the cavalier way, on the flimsiest of pretexts, in which York accedes to a request for segregation of men and women. It shows, to me anyway, the fragility of gender equality in our society. And while it's heartening that virtually everyone is coming out against York on this issue, much of it is being used as a cover for Islamophobia (one example of many) or other kinds of cultural supremacy.

Unionist, you tend to parse words very carefully.

I think describing the acommodation here as "segregation" is a careless use of that term.

If one is determined to NOT bring religion into it, as you just argued, then this was simply a request to not do something.  It did not segregate anyone.  It did not, for example, request an all-male group.  THAT would be segregation.

It's only if you delve more deeply into the reasons for the request, which are a personal (and faith-based) desire to not mix with women, that you can (very tangentially) make the argument that it is a point on a trajectory that, ultimately, could end with segregation.  But you just said this is not about religion at all.

I am also confused.  If you believe York when it says did not instruct the prof to offer the accom because of religion, then the only other reason is to honour an expectation that the class would NOT involve f2f interaction.  If that's the case, then exactly how is York capitulating to "segregation"?  

Unionist

Sorry pookie, you're right, I misspoke, "segregation" is the wrong term. All I meant was that York had capitulated to a request to treat men and women in a differential fashion, in a way that cannot be justified on (say) some biological ground or need for affirmative action, etc. It's similar to someone saying, "I'd like my licence photo taken by a female/male/whatever". Or by a white person. Such requests must not be accommodated, irrespective of the motivation.

NOTE that I'm not talking about certain recognized situations like, "I'd rather not shower in the guys' locker room" and so on. Such exceptions are explicitly provided in human rights legislation, and in case law.

And I'm certainly not saying I believe York's latest explanation - in fact I was the one who reported and ridiculed it upthread. What I'm saying is that I don't care what their explanation is. Their conclusion offends unreasonably against gender equality. If the request had been framed simply as, "Hey, I signed up for what purported to be a pure distance course, and I can't meet your new unannounced f2f conditions" - without mention of gender - then there would be no problem at all - even if his real motivation had been religious or sexist.

6079_Smith_W

@ pookie

That's based on the assumption that one buys York's excuse. On one level it might wash; perhaps it was just our of fear of not getting sued, or accommodating regardless of the reason (in which case perhaps we WILL see mass numbers of Pastafarian students taking distance class from the pub next year).

I pay more attention to their worker who was faced with the initial request, and rightly distressed at being expected to accomodate a sexist claim  - both personally, and because of the implications for the  institution. And even though the claim was based on personal opinion, to allow it is de facto enforcement of religious-based discrimination.

If the spectre of religious grounds was not there, why would they even think of allowing it? And more importantly, why didn't they do the small amount of homework it would have taken to sort out what was really going on?

 

 

 

MegB

sherpa-finn wrote:

According to Rebecca West: The only major religious text that is overtly misogynist is the Bible. By comparison the Koran, Torah and Talmud are progressive.

Well, I guess that rather depends on how you define misogynist and progressive.  There are plenty of verses in the Qu'ran that explicitly endorse inequality between the sexes, polygamy, and violence against women - and that serve as foundations for the hadiths and other rules and practices that followed.

So lets not get too warm and fuzzy about this or any other 'prophets'.

Wouldn't dream of it. My point is that lack of contact with women is cultural, not religious. All the mainstream religions that are based in patriarchy are misogynist to one degree or other. It's just that the Bible - which often gets a free pass - is probably one of the worst.

pookie

Unionist wrote:
[=12] 

And I'm certainly not saying I believe York's latest explanation - in fact I was the one who reported and ridiculed it upthread. What I'm saying is that I don't care what their explanation is. Their conclusion offends unreasonably against gender equality. If the request had been framed simply as, "Hey, I signed up for what purported to be a pure distance course, and I can't meet your new unannounced f2f conditions" - without mention of gender - then there would be no problem at all - even if his real motivation had been religious or sexist.

Understood, Unionist, but I don't think you can get away from their reasons here.  If the University was not accommodating a religious belief then (because I agree with you that the online stuff is a post facto explanation) it had no basis to even consider the request.  The only thing it could do is make the f2f component optional for everyone.

I know alot of people find this situation intolerable.  I am one of them.  I am simply saying that it is not York, necessarily, who is at fault here, but the entire Ontario Human Rights Code, and the construct underylying freedom of religion (as a constitutional right) that has been adopted by our courts.

6079_Smith_W

@ pookie

I don't think one needs to take aim at something unnecessarily, simply because someone did something stupid.

That is to say, until there's an actual ruling that shows that is the case, I don't think one can assume there's a problem with the law.

It seemed to work in that barbershop case, after all. If you are aware of some instances to the contrary I'd be interested in hearing them. On the other hand, I have heard that Ontario justices of the peace can decline same sex marriages if it is against their religion. I don't know if it is true, but that would be a wrong-headed policy, IMO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

pookie

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ pookie

I don't think one needs to take aim at something unnecessarily, simply because someone did something stupid.

That is to say, until there's an actual ruling that shows that is the case, I don't think one can assume there's a problem with the law.

It seemed to work in that barbershop case, after all. If you are aware of some instances to the contrary I'd be interested in hearing them. On the other hand, I have heard that Ontario justices of the peace can decline same sex marriages if it is against their religion. I don't know if it is true, but that would be a wrong-headed policy, IMO.

The point about human rights is that you expect employers, especially ones like York, to be proactive in avoiding complaints. Supposedly, they sought advice.  The advice was to accommodate.  What do you think was the basis of that advice?

That is the way the system is supposed to work.

The barbershop case involved two specific people whose rights were competing in the situation.  This case does not.  I'm not aware of any precedents for the idea that excusing the student from course work (which is all that would have happeed) actually infringes any other students' rights.  "Undue hardship" is statutorily defined as cost, and health and safety.  It doesn't include broader things like an institution's underlying commitment to equality, or the negative message sent to other protected groups.

So, yeah, I'm calling it as a systemic problem.

 

 

 

 

 

Unionist

pookie wrote:
  "Undue hardship" is statutorily defined as cost, and health and safety.  It doesn't include broader things like an institution's underlying commitment to equality, or the negative message sent to other protected groups.

So, yeah, I'm calling it as a systemic problem.

Strongly agree.

I'm not a lawyer - but I gag when people say there can be "no hierarchy of rights".

Really?

My religion tells me (say) that Jews shouldn't marry outside their faith. So if I'm a justice of the peace, I should be excused from officiating over such marriages?

Really?

I was surprised to learn how "undue hardship" is defined in the Ontario act. Would I be allowed, as an Ontario employee, to refuse to deal with Aboriginal or Catholic customers or persons of colour or LGBT folks, if I had a sincerely religious-type belief, and if the employer couldn't prove that it would cost too much to accommodate me?

The fact that discussions like this can even arise shows the fundamental flaw in "religious accommodation". It's why even the Charest government proposed, in 2007, giving gender equality priority over all other rights in the Québec Charter, even though that wouldn't quite solve the problem. If the PQ could get rid of the religious garb part of their new Charter, I'd support it (secularism of the state, priority to gender equality...) - even though it needs more work.

 

6079_Smith_W

Really?

Even though they didn't check to see if there was a religious basis for the complaint in the first place?

Honestly, I'm not from Ontario, so if you have any evidence I'm open to hearing it, but not checking the facts, and being overly antsy and making assumptions about liability isn't quite the same thing.I see nothing here other than a dumb fuckup that should be corrected - in house.

Years ago when new child porn laws came in we heard horror stories that renaissance art and garden fountains were going to be impounded and their owners charged. That never happened, because the law, though broad, was applied in a sensible way.

That said, I agree in a general sense about priority being given to gender, race and orientation. Thing is though, it's not always that cut and dried - especially when you throw something like freedom of expression in there.

But anyway, I don't want to drift this off topic. We can agree to disagree.

 

pookie

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Really?

Even though they didn't check to see if there was a religious basis for the complaint in the first place?

They could have done more investigation, but it would likely not have made any difference.  

From the SCC majority in Amselem (the leading precedent on how freedom of religion is defined):

Quote:
The emphasis then is on personal choice of religious beliefs.  In my opinion, these decisions and commentary should not be construed to imply that freedom of religion protects only those aspects of religious belief or conduct that are objectively recognized by religious experts as being obligatory tenets or precepts of a particular religion.  Consequently, claimants seeking to invoke freedom of religion should not need to prove the objective validity of their beliefs in that their beliefs are objectively recognized as valid by other members of the same religion, nor is such an inquiry appropriate for courts to make...

 An inquiry into the mandatory nature of an alleged religious practice is not only inappropriate, it is plagued with difficulties.

...the court’s role in assessing sincerity is intended only to ensure that a presently asserted religious belief is in good faith, neither fictitious nor capricious, and that it is not an artifice. Otherwise, nothing short of a religious inquisition would be required to decipher the innermost beliefs of human beings.

...it is inappropriate for courts rigorously to study and focus on the past practices of claimants in order to determine whether their current beliefs are sincerely held.  ...  Because of the vacillating nature of religious belief, a court’s inquiry into sincerity, if anything, should focus not on past practice or past belief but on a person’s belief at the time of the alleged interference with his or her religious freedom.

Just so it's clear, here is the opposing argument made by the dissent in that case:

Quote:

By identifying with a religion, an individual makes it known that he or she shares a number of precepts with other followers of the religion.  The approach I have adopted here requires not only a personal belief or the adoption of a religious practice that is supported by a personal belief, but also a genuine connection between the belief and the person’s religion.  In my view, the only way the trial judge can establish that a person has a sincere belief, or has sincerely adopted a religious practice that is genuinely connected with the religion he or she claims to follow, is by applying an objective test.  It is one thing to assert that a practice is protected even though certain followers of the religion do not think that the practice is included among the religion’s precepts and quite another to assert that a practice must be protected when none of the followers think it is included among those precepts.  If, pursuant to s. 3, a practice must be connected with the religion, the connection must be objectively identifiable.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Interesting, thanks. Though there is no indication there as to how things would shake down when it runs up against other rights. I don't have a problem in principle with that idea, depending on the circumstances. For me it is more a combination of the fact that there was no support form religious authorities, and that the student complied immediately that makes me wonder how serious this case was.

That aspect is probably a discussion best had in another thread, though.

 

pookie

I am curious why you think this discussion is a thread drift.  It seems pretty relevant -indeed, central - to me.

sherpa-finn

6079_Smith_W wrote:  I have heard that Ontario justices of the peace can decline same sex marriages if it is against their religion. I don't know if it is true, but that would be a wrong-headed policy, IMO.

I have not heard of this issue in an Ontarian context. Certainly, when a similar issue came up a couple of years back in Sask vis a vis Marriage Commissioners, the decision of the Sask Court of Appeal was very clear: religious beliefs cannot be used as a reason to refuse to marry same-sex couples.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/saskatchewan-says-marriage-commissioners-must-wed-same-sex-couples/article562374/

6079_Smith_W

This is the feminist forum.

Seems to me once we start getting into things that don't primarily concern that perspective it might be time to take that elsewhere -or just consider it done.

While what might constitute religious grounds is interesting, it really doesn't change (for me) the fact this is an ultimately sexist decision. And I don't think it is appropriate to get too far away from that.

 

Unionist

Pookie, before embarking on the meta-theme of why someone thinks this is thread drift, I need a knowledgeable answer to my question above:

Unionist wrote:
I was surprised to learn how "undue hardship" is defined in the Ontario act. Would I be allowed, as an Ontario employee, to refuse to deal with Aboriginal or Catholic customers or persons of colour or LGBT folks, if I had a sincerely-held religious-type belief, and if the employer couldn't prove that it would cost too much to accommodate me?

 

sherpa-finn

Unionist wrote: I need a knowledgeable answer to my question.

Geez, Unionist - you're setting the bar a little high aren't you?  Trying to silence most of the rest of us?  [Emoticon of choice inserted here]

Sineed

This thread has reached about that point, I figure.

York University Dean supports student’s religious right to Aztec human sacrifice

http://www.thebeaverton.com/national/item/1102-york-university-dean-supp...

Quote:
“We are legally obliged to heed to the student’s wishes of human sacrifice” said Dr. Martin Singer, Dean of the faculty of Arts and Science at the university. “This wouldn’t affect many students as the festival of Tlacaxipehualiztli only lasts 20 days to celebrate the spring equinox and sometimes occurs during reading week. Additionally, the student has assured me that obsidian blades are so sharp that you will barely feel them.”

...

“I understand that people may be uncomfortable with the idea of firing arrows at someone tied to a wooden board until their blood fills a copper bowl, but York University is an inclusive campus that appreciates the values of all religions,” the Dean added.

6079_Smith_W

@ SIneed

Cross posted with you .

Yeah... I saw that on facebook yesterday.  That would about sum it up, in its essence and in its absurdity.

 

6079_Smith_W

Perhaps because where that discussion could lead might be territory that has little to do with feminism and the sexist nature of this act.

But go ahead if that's where we're going. No need to get meta. Consider it an observation.

(edit)

To back up though, I'm not so sure it is as simple as  a systemic problem - and to lay it all on provincial legislation is even a bit more of a stretch.

While strictly speaking no one else may have been infringed upon, the fact that a prof was asked to allow a request for discrimination on the basis of gender, and the negative public reaction to this happening in a university indicates there is a bit more to it than just following the rules. And especially so when you consider the problem was likely solved even before the administration undid that solution.

I think this had as much to do with them wanting to be seen taking charge, as it did with fear of getting a complaint.

 

 

 

pookie

Unionist wrote:

Pookie, before embarking on the meta-theme of why someone thinks this is thread drift, I need a knowledgeable answer to my question above:

Unionist wrote:
I was surprised to learn how "undue hardship" is defined in the Ontario act. Would I be allowed, as an Ontario employee, to refuse to deal with Aboriginal or Catholic customers or persons of colour or LGBT folks, if I had a sincerely-held religious-type belief, and if the employer couldn't prove that it would cost too much to accommodate me?

 

Unionist, possibly, but the difference there is that the denial of service is itself expressly prohibited under the Code.  I think the OHRC would consider that a competing rights issue. These are what they identity as "key legal principles":

Quote:
No rights are absolute

There is no hierarchy of rights Rights may not extend as far as claimed

The full context, facts and constitutional values at stake must be considered

Must look at extent of interference (only actual burdens on rights trigger conflicts)

The core of a right is more protected than its periphery

Aim to respect the importance of both sets of rights

Statutory defences may restrict rights of one group and give rights to another.

http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-competing-human-rights/5-key-legal-princ...

Raj Anand, a leading human rights lawyer in Ontario, was quoted in the Globe (I think) to the effect that York was probably right to think they had to accommodate.

pookie

6079_Smith_W wrote:

This is the feminist forum.

Seems to me once we start getting into things that don't primarily concern that perspective it might be time to take that elsewhere -or just consider it done.

While what might constitute religious grounds is interesting, it really doesn't change (for me) the fact this is an ultimately sexist decision. And I don't think it is appropriate to get too far away from that.

 

Interesting.  I think the ability of the current human rights regime to adequately deal with gender equality is front and center here.  

pookie

To be clear, I'm fine with taking this to another thread.  But I recall that sometimes that's frowned upon too.

 

pookie

Sineed wrote:

This thread has reached about that point, I figure.

York University Dean supports student’s religious right to Aztec human sacrifice

http://www.thebeaverton.com/national/item/1102-york-university-dean-supp...

Quote:
“We are legally obliged to heed to the student’s wishes of human sacrifice” said Dr. Martin Singer, Dean of the faculty of Arts and Science at the university. “This wouldn’t affect many students as the festival of Tlacaxipehualiztli only lasts 20 days to celebrate the spring equinox and sometimes occurs during reading week. Additionally, the student has assured me that obsidian blades are so sharp that you will barely feel them.”

...

“I understand that people may be uncomfortable with the idea of firing arrows at someone tied to a wooden board until their blood fills a copper bowl, but York University is an inclusive campus that appreciates the values of all religions,” the Dean added.

Yeah, I saw it and while I admit I had to suppress a giggle, I think it's of a piece with extreme right-wing lampooning of equality rights.

IOW - a cheap shot that doesn't actually further the cause of anti-oppression.

6079_Smith_W

Right to think, perhaps. Right to undo the solution, perhaps less so.

But given that women, and many others would likely feel outraged by this I wouldn't assume anything until this was put to the real test.

 

Unionist

Yeah, I saw that too. It's the lowest form of mockery of indigenous people. It should really be deleted.

Pookie - religious accommodation (which the SCC read into the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of religion) needs to be re-thought and downgraded. We need a hierarchy that puts some individual beliefs way way below the need to ban discrimination against marginalized and oppressed groups. The York situation demonstrates that as clearly as I can imagine.

 

6079_Smith_W

pookie wrote:

Interesting.  I think the ability of the current human rights regime to adequately deal with gender equality is front and center here.  

Thing is, that regime hasn't had anything to do with this incident yet. Making assumptions about its ability to deal with it, and speculating about presumed solutions is kind of putting the cart before the horse.

As for competing rights, there are other cases where decisions on that have come down in ways people might not expect. Like I said, I do agree in precedence in general terms, and what strikes me most in this case is its sexism and de facto segregation, being enforced by a public institution. But I don't think you can put that in absolute terms, nor to I see any demonstrated need to change any law until the law has actually been applied and found wanting.

Unionist

pookie wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Pookie, before embarking on the meta-theme of why someone thinks this is thread drift, I need a knowledgeable answer to my question above:

Unionist wrote:
I was surprised to learn how "undue hardship" is defined in the Ontario act. Would I be allowed, as an Ontario employee, to refuse to deal with Aboriginal or Catholic customers or persons of colour or LGBT folks, if I had a sincerely-held religious-type belief, and if the employer couldn't prove that it would cost too much to accommodate me?

 

Unionist, possibly, but the difference there is that the denial of service is itself expressly prohibited under the Code.  I think the OHRC would consider that a competing rights issue.

Sorry to belabour this point - but I'm not talking about "denial of service". The Jew/woman/lesbian/Aboriginal is served - by someone else. There is no prohibitive extra cost to the employer. Is the employer forced to accommodate my abhorrence of Jews/women/lesbians under such circumstances, because there is no "undue hardship" as defined in the Ontario act?

If so, then the law must be changed.

 

pookie

Unionist wrote:

pookie wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Pookie, before embarking on the meta-theme of why someone thinks this is thread drift, I need a knowledgeable answer to my question above:

Unionist wrote:
I was surprised to learn how "undue hardship" is defined in the Ontario act. Would I be allowed, as an Ontario employee, to refuse to deal with Aboriginal or Catholic customers or persons of colour or LGBT folks, if I had a sincerely-held religious-type belief, and if the employer couldn't prove that it would cost too much to accommodate me?

 

Unionist, possibly, but the difference there is that the denial of service is itself expressly prohibited under the Code.  I think the OHRC would consider that a competing rights issue.

Sorry to belabour this point - but I'm not talking about "denial of service". The Jew/woman/lesbian/Aboriginal is served - by someone else. There is no prohibitive extra cost to the employer. Is the employer forced to accommodate my abhorrence of Jews/women/lesbians under such circumstances, because there is no "undue hardship" as defined in the Ontario act?

If so, then the law must be changed.

 

If they can easily and automatically be served by someone else it is definitely hard to make out undue hardship. But I note that in Sask, when dealing with refusals by marriage commissioners, the Court of Appeal took a very hard approach, requiring a near perfect guarantee. It couldn't be shown in that case, so the accommodation was not permissible. It hasn't really been addressed in Ontario.

6079_Smith_W

@ pookie

And it was the court. I can't find the article right now, but the court criticised the government in terms stronger than this article for trying to weasel some way for these officers of the court to get out of recognizing the law and doing their jobs. I forget the exact words, but it was along the lines of accusing them of not dealing in good faith and wasting the court's time in an attempt to get around the law.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/marriage-officials-can-t-refu...

It is heartening when due process works its way out like that.

If the principles of non-discrimination and secularism are truly what's most important in this case (and I think they are) I'd hope that if it ever comes to a complaint, and if that complaint ever comes to a hearing, that they'd reach a similar conclusion without being strongarmed into it.

 

 

fortunate

Unionist wrote:

Sorry to belabour this point - but I'm not talking about "denial of service". The Jew/woman/lesbian/Aboriginal is served - by someone else. There is no prohibitive extra cost to the employer. Is the employer forced to accommodate my abhorrence of Jews/women/lesbians under such circumstances, because there is no "undue hardship" as defined in the Ontario act?

If so, then the law must be changed.

 

 

This is a good point, because in essence if your personal choice isn't recognized, isn't the 'fix' going to be worse than the problem?  If I was the Jewish lesbian aboriginal, is my best interests served by having you provide the service I need?    I wouldn't want you, i would want someone who is at the very least OK with being in the same room as I am.   

I can guarantee, had this been a legitimate religious request by this student, that any other female studen is NOT going to want to have to be the one forced into f2f with him, because his request got denied.   

At some point someone has to point out the greater good for all the other students, in a case like this had it been legitimate, is to provide that greasy wheel student what they want.   The alternative is that others will have to suffer by being the one who has to spend time with him.    

The university obviously bent over backwards so far they forgot to actually investigate the legitimacy of the request in the first place, and the reasoning for their decision is flawed, but the result of the decision benefited the greater good of the majority in this case.     Again, had it been legit.    

 

As a woman, I do not want people around me who hate me being forced to spend time with me, provide me a service, and/or be responsible for my advancement.    

abnormal
Pondering

Thanks abnormal, I needed that. Laughing

abnormal

Rather than start a new thread I'll just post this here:

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/01/15/halifax-woman-felt-disgusting-after...

Quote:

Politicians are scrambling to put a brave face on an ugly situation at a Halifax recreation centre.

Sonja Power, 17, was on the cusp of earning her black belt in Aikido at a Halifax dojo when a new man joined the class. He refused to be in contact with women or to spar with any of the female students.

Power and the other women were told to stay on one side of the room and not to approach the Muslim man to respect his faith.

etc ...

 

 

 

NorthReport

I agree. Sounds like a wise and compassionate educator.

PAUL GRAYSON

York professor at centre of religious rights furor: Rights Code is the issue

In Ontario, all universities base their decisions on matters pertaining to religious accommodations on the province’s Human Rights Code. So although politicians of all stripes disagreed, it’s not surprising that the former chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission told The Globe and Mail that he thought York had done the right thing in insisting on the accommodation. If York was doing the right thing, other institutions would have felt compelled to do the same.

But although human-rights bureaucrats may believe York did the right thing, many Canadians writing to me said the Human Rights Code does not yield acceptable outcomes. If situations like this one allow religious rights to trump gender rights, then the code is out of touch with the values of Canadians of all faiths. As a result, it lacks credibility among a large segment of the population.

The people I’m talking about are not rednecks who believe Canada should be reserved for white, native-born Christians. They are native- and foreign-born Canadians of all faiths who put secular human rights for everyone ahead of parochial religious rights. Many reported experiences under regimes, such as Iran’s, that enforce strict religious codes. Indeed, some of the strongest support I received came from such individuals. They had seen firsthand the results of religious intrusion into all aspects of life.

It is also clear from reading these e-mail accounts that the moral confusion that characterized the York administration’s position is not confined to universities. Many pointed to the fact that in Ontario’s publicly funded primary and secondary schools, examples can be found of situations in which code-sanctioned prayer meetings segregate boys from girls. In other instances, parents can request that their children not be required to sit beside or work with members of the opposite sex. In some publicly funded swimming pools, boys are separated from girls for religious reasons.

Such accommodations are likely to engender feelings of inferiority in girls. Conversely, boys might mistakenly assume they are superior to girls. Such accommodations also likely provide a bad example for other students. Seeing or hearing of gendered segregation in his school, an impressionable 12-year-old boy may come to believe that separation between the sexes is acceptable. If some of his friends regard the girls in the prayer room as unworthy, he may come to view them the same way. Given these conditions, it would not be surprising to discover that once they got to university, some of these students would think it legitimate to request accommodations to avoid working with their female peers. Their previous education had taught them that if you asked for a religious accommodation, you got it.

There is evidence from my e-mails that in Ontario the rights of female students are suffering from religious compromise at all levels of education. Unfortunately, we do not know the full dimensions of this compromise, or its long-term effects on female students, on their male peers and, ultimately, on the value structure of our society.

For these reasons, we need an impartial provincial inquiry into these matters. On the basis of its findings, it might be possible to get the Human Rights Code back on track and more relevant to Ontarians of all faiths concerned with their daughters’ educations and futures.


 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/my-quarrels-not-with-york-bu...

6079_Smith_W

Funny, because when those rights are actually tested in court, it doesn't necessarily come down that way.

Also, it's funny that testing a human rights issue sounds akin to being sent to the gallows - something to be avoided on pain of death, whether the issue is clear or not. We have a complaint on a religious issue going on here in Saskatoon right now. The complaint was made, and there have been a series of negotiations and discussions over the course of six months. They haven't reached a settlement, and the city seems willing to allow the complaint to proceed and be tested at a tribunal.

Are the stakes somehow higher in Ontario? Would the school face bankruptcy if they chose to test this? Seems to me the better course is to let people look at the case and decide what the best course is; that is why we have a judiciary in the first place, and not just a big book that automatically spits out the answer.

Frankly I see a lot more potential danger in that latter option, the potential for law which is truly restrictive, and no change in the likelihood of people making stupid decisions based on what they THINK that law means.

 

 

Slumberjack

Quote:
Politicians are scrambling to put a brave face on an ugly situation at a Halifax recreation centre.  Sonja Power, 17, was on the cusp of earning her black belt in Aikido at a Halifax dojo when a new man joined the class. He refused to be in contact with women or to spar with any of the female students.  Power and the other women were told to stay on one side of the room and not to approach the Muslim man to respect his faith.  etc ...

Quote:
I felt like a second class citizen, that I was so disgusting and unworthy that this man doesn't even want to interact with me," Power told QMI Agency. "It doesn't make any sense, why would something you choose, your religion, trump something I'm born with, my gender, we wouldn't let a religion trump someone's race."  The incident happened more than a year ago and Power's mother, Michele Walsh, said she has contacted every level of government but was ignored. She said the sensei told her to "get used to" the gender separation. 

This is why mysogny can't be accommodated.

6079_Smith_W

Slumberjack wrote:

This is why misogny can't be accommodated.

Is anyone here saying that it should?

 

Slumberjack

I don't know actually.  Why don't you go and have a look?

quizzical

is anyone contacting the city of halifax or planning on picketing it?

this incidence is a wonderful example of our male dominated society re-enforcing it's own male dominated values on us women!!!!

it's obvious the instructor thought nothing of diminishing gender rights and putting them beneath "religious" rights even though religious beliefs are a personal choice and gender is a given. the abscence of critical thought of any type of how this diminishes equality shows how entrenched into society bigotry against women is.

if i were this girl i would be suing the city of halifax and every person she went to who did nothing.

Pondering

fortunate wrote:
This is a good point, because in essence if your personal choice isn't recognized, isn't the 'fix' going to be worse than the problem?  If I was the Jewish lesbian aboriginal, is my best interests served by having you provide the service I need?    I wouldn't want you, i would want someone who is at the very least OK with being in the same room as I am.   

I can guarantee, had this been a legitimate religious request by this student, that any other female studen is NOT going to want to have to be the one forced into f2f with him, because his request got denied.   

At some point someone has to point out the greater good for all the other students, in a case like this had it been legitimate, is to provide that greasy wheel student what they want.   The alternative is that others will have to suffer by being the one who has to spend time with him.    

The university obviously bent over backwards so far they forgot to actually investigate the legitimacy of the request in the first place, and the reasoning for their decision is flawed, but the result of the decision benefited the greater good of the majority in this case.     Again, had it been legit.    

As a woman, I do not want people around me who hate me being forced to spend time with me, provide me a service, and/or be responsible for my advancement.   

 

I'm just curious. Does no one else see a problem with this perspective in the feminist forum? 

Pondering

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Slumberjack wrote:

This is why misogny can't be accommodated.

Is anyone here saying that it should?

Yes, fortunate is saying it.

6079_Smith_W

I might not agree with the mutual dislike argument but personally I don't have a problem with her expressing it. It's fair to point that sometimes doing the right thing is not without conflict.

Like the cartoon, I see it more as personal opinion and extrapolating on this incident than an argument for segregation.

 

abnormal

Slumberjack wrote:

Quote:
Politicians are scrambling to put a brave face on an ugly situation at a Halifax recreation centre.  Sonja Power, 17, was on the cusp of earning her black belt in Aikido at a Halifax dojo when a new man joined the class. He refused to be in contact with women or to spar with any of the female students.  Power and the other women were told to stay on one side of the room and not to approach the Muslim man to respect his faith.  etc ...

Quote:
I felt like a second class citizen, that I was so disgusting and unworthy that this man doesn't even want to interact with me," Power told QMI Agency. "It doesn't make any sense, why would something you choose, your religion, trump something I'm born with, my gender, we wouldn't let a religion trump someone's race."  The incident happened more than a year ago and Power's mother, Michele Walsh, said she has contacted every level of government but was ignored. She said the sensei told her to "get used to" the gender separation. 

This is why mysogny can't be accommodated.

Have to admit that if this had happened in any martial arts class I ever taught (or took), I think the response would have been very simple.  "So you're too good to train with women?  Prove it.  Go work out with "her". And that's the point where I would have turned to "her" and said "hurt him".

 

cco

quizzical wrote:

it's obvious the instructor thought nothing of diminishing gender rights and putting them beneath "religious" rights even though religious beliefs are a personal choice and gender is a given.

One would think that this would be blindingly obvious, yet with the Québec debate, both certain media outlets and even some people here have tried to advance the idea that religion isn't "really" a choice, and that it should be considered the same as race (look over at the soccer/turban thread for a good dose of this). The Gazette ran an article where it straight-up said "unlike religion, political affiliation is a choice". The mind boggles.

(BEGIN SARCASM) Why, abnormal, what a bigoted, religion-hating position for you to take!(END SARCASM)

6079_Smith_W

I made that argument on the turban/hijab issue, but I don't think choice is the distinction here, so much as who is pushing for the segregation, whom does it affect, and more importantly, for what reason.

 

 

pookie

Pondering wrote:

fortunate wrote:
This is a good point, because in essence if your personal choice isn't recognized, isn't the 'fix' going to be worse than the problem?  If I was the Jewish lesbian aboriginal, is my best interests served by having you provide the service I need?    I wouldn't want you, i would want someone who is at the very least OK with being in the same room as I am.   

I can guarantee, had this been a legitimate religious request by this student, that any other female studen is NOT going to want to have to be the one forced into f2f with him, because his request got denied.   

At some point someone has to point out the greater good for all the other students, in a case like this had it been legitimate, is to provide that greasy wheel student what they want.   The alternative is that others will have to suffer by being the one who has to spend time with him.    

The university obviously bent over backwards so far they forgot to actually investigate the legitimacy of the request in the first place, and the reasoning for their decision is flawed, but the result of the decision benefited the greater good of the majority in this case.     Again, had it been legit.    

As a woman, I do not want people around me who hate me being forced to spend time with me, provide me a service, and/or be responsible for my advancement.   

 

I'm just curious. Does no one else see a problem with this perspective in the feminist forum? 

I have a problem with it. I wouldn't say it's especially inappropriate in the feminist forum.  I can see why you might think that, though.

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