A York University professor is refusing to let a student skip a group project because there are too many women involved in it -- a decision that is reportedly not sitting well with school administration.
J. Paul Grayson, who teaches a sociology course online, told the National Post such segregation "represents a great leap backwards."
"When I was a student, you couldn’t have gotten away with that — it wouldn’t even have been considered.”
The student, who is not being named for privacy matters, cited religious reasons when he made the request last September, according to the Post.
"One of the main reasons that I have chosen internet courses to complete my BA is due to my firm religious beliefs, and part of that is the intermingling between men and women," the student wrote. "It will not be possible for me to meet in public with a group of women (the majority of my group) to complete some of these tasks."
Grayson denied the request, penning a 12-page paper outlining his rationale, the Globe and Mail reports -- notably, the professor didn't want to be an "accessory to sexism." In a follow-up letter to the school's Centre for Human Rights, Grayson wrote, "I doubt that we would sanction a student refusing, for religious reasons, to interact with Blacks in classes even though Biblical justification could be found."
Nevertheless, the university administration has overturned Grayson's decision, recommending that he make concessions for the student.
After all, accommodations had already been made for other students who were studying abroad -- they were permitted to complete an alternative assignment, the Toronto Star reports.
"I think Mr. X must be accommodated in exactly the same way as the distant student has been," the newspaper reports, citing the vice dean's letter to Grayson.
Grayson, however, sees it as a case of religious rights clashing with women's rights -- and the former coming out on top.
"In order to meet an instance of a religious requirement we have tacitly accepted a negative definition of females," Grayson told the Star. "That's not acceptable."
The student in question has subsequently told Grayson that he respects his decision -- and has since met with the group, despite the preponderance of women, the Globe reports.
The university, on the other hand, has maintained its position.
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A hijab is a head covering only. It can be worn many different ways including as a simple wrap around, shown here, or Al Amirah style. Regular clothes that cover the arms, shoulders and legs may be worn with the hijab. Women who wear the hijab are Muhajaba, which means they are wearing it for religious purposes.
Hijab in Action
Sheila & Abaya
An abaya is a long black, loose fitting cloak that often zips or buttons up the front. The sheila is a rectangular scarf that covers the head. Usually made of light silk material and most often found in black, but can be as simple or elaborate as the wearer so chooses. Generally these garments are part of a region's traditional dress, and are therefore worn for cultural reasons rather than religious purposes.
Often mistaken for a burqa, the niqab fully covers the body, but only partially covers the face, leaving a narrow opening for the eyes. Driving while veiled: now a misdemeanor in France.
The Batula is a face covering generally worn by older women in the Gulf region. This is a style that is slowly being depleted and not carried forward by younger generations.
Burqas come in many colors and fully covers the wearer, often there is a net window over the eyes so the wearer can see out, but no one can see in.
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This particular burqa is called the chadri, the light blue color and style is native to Afghanistan.
"Doa gaun" or "dress for praying." This dress slips over the clothing of women in two pieces...the gown and the headscarf. It is very common in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. The doa gaun is usually carried with women when they are on the go. They can stop in the nearest Masjid, or suaru (a place for prayer), slip this over the clothing they are wearing, worship and take it off to continue the day.
The Chador is more common to Iran. It is a long billowing dress that leaves the face open but covers the wrists and ankles. Chador's in a more plain black color with less decorative embellishments.
Fully covering beachwear made of lightweight swimsuit material.
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