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What is Reasonable Accommodation?

Rubi Ramji: Professor at Cape Breton University

York University has been in the news over a controversial decision it made recently.
The University sided with a student, who had argued he shouldn't have to meet with female students, on religious grounds.
His professor had denied the student's request, because he felt it would discriminate against women.

Meanwhile, a martial arts student in Halifax is telling the media that she was relegated to a female only part of the room in her weekly training sessions because a man in the group said he would not touch or train with women because of his religious beliefs.

She says it made her feel like a second class citizen to be separated by gender.. She felt she was being discriminated against and was offended when the man refused to shake her hands in the customary way after practices.

The issue of reasonable accommodation is something universities across the country grapple with to varying degrees. What needs to be considered?

Rubi Ramji is a Professor at Cape Breton University in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies who has researched the issues of accommodation.

Listen audio (runs 7:40)