Professor’s co-ed projects broke “obligation to accommodate”

Citing religious opposition to the “intermingling between men and women,” a student in an online course asked to be counted out of a group project because of the preponderance of women in the group.  When the instructor refused, administrators said he broke their “obligation to accommodate.” (ETA: Thanks to the reader who pointed to this longer, more informative account of the situation.)

I’m underwhelmed with the professor’s objections, as “in my day you couldn’t do that” is the sort of objection that could be applied to many reasonable requests for accommodation.  However, I sympathize with the professor’s resistance.  York University is an explicitly co-educational school accepting all genders; a student’s requirement not to interact with other genders seems counter to the commitments of the university.

6 thoughts on “Professor’s co-ed projects broke “obligation to accommodate”

  1. “But the dean’s office said that because Dr. Grayson exempted a student who is taking the course abroad from meeting with a group at York, the other student should be treated the same.”

    This is the sort of outlandishly bad reasoning that I would expect from a human resources bureaucrat.

  2. I can’t even begin to see what it is that makes you “underwhelmed” by the professor’s objections. His claim is that such an exemption would marginalize women in the classroom and would be akin to those whose religious beliefs mandating they not interact with racial minorities being given a similar exemption. What is this “in my day” business you mention?

  3. Anonymous#5, the professor’s objections in the longer, better story are as you describe. I wrote the post when the link provided to me was the first one, the National Post story, in which he says in the second paragraph, “When I was a student, you couldn’t have gotten away with that — it wouldn’t even have been considered.”

    Upon my first reading of that, it struck me how often I hear that from colleagues today about accommodations for disabilities. I’m not saying this line is representative of the best reasons on the part of the professor or anyone else. I was just saying that this particular quote provided an underwhelming reason.

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