Prof fires back after being forced to accommodate student

York University sign on Keele south of Steeles in Toronto, Ont. (QMI Agency files)

York University sign on Keele south of Steeles in Toronto, Ont. (QMI Agency files)

Terry Davidson, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 3:53 PM ET

TORONTO -- A York University professor is firing back after being ordered to accommodate a student who requested he not have to work with female peers due to his religious beliefs.

Sociology Prof. Paul Grayson will be distributing a letter to his York colleagues in response to a statement made by the university's dean on Friday.

The school stated a request by one of Grayson's students - who has yet to be identified - must be granted because of the university's obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code when it comes to religious accommodation.

Grayson's response, which was obtained by QMI Agency on Monday, argues that the decision made by York University dean Martin Singer is based on weak ground and is a slap in the face to female students - whom, he argues, also have rights to be accepted and treated equally.

"I do not believe that we want to be known as a university in which the rights of female students can be compromised by religious concerns," Grayson said in his Monday statement, quoting himself in a letter he sent to the university's dean in October, shortly after the student made his request.

The student's request, which has ignited a hot debate around how far secular institutions should go to accommodate religious beliefs, began in September when a student in one of Grayson's online sociology classes e-mailed the veteran professor requesting not to attend an in-person project for the class - a student-run focus group - because his beliefs dictate he not interact with women.


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