York University prez says student's request not granted

York University is pictured in this file photo. (Veronica Henri/QMI Agency)

York University is pictured in this file photo. (Veronica Henri/QMI Agency)

Terry Davidson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

TORONTO - York University didn’t accommodate a student who requested he not have to work with his female peers because of religious reasons, the school’s president says.

Mamdouh Shoukri issued a statement Tuesday stressing that York is a “secular” and “democratic” institution, and that the student in question was never granted his request to opt out of the online course study group.

“Let me be clear: religious accommodation should not be our sole focus when trying to balance principles and rights that are central to the fundamentals of a secular society,” Shoukri said in the statement. “Religious accommodation cannot be implemented at the expense of the infringement of the rights of others.

“We must always safeguard rights such as gender equality, academic freedom and freedom of expression, which form the foundation of any secular post-secondary institution. Sexism, racism and others forms of hatred and intolerance have no place on our campuses.”


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