In a nutshell:
A male student at York University in Ontario did not want to do a group assignment with females. He approached his prof and asked for a religious accommodation.
The prof was not comfortable with this, and asked for opinions from both Jewish and Islamic religious scholars. They were all of the opinion that there was nothing in either religion to stop a student from doing group work in a public setting with females.
The prof then asked his female students a “hypothetical” question about this same thing. The reaction from them was quite negative. They did not like this idea at all.
He then denied the student a religious accommodation for his request. By his account, the student “cheerfully” accepted his decision.
Case closed, right? No. The professor’s dean was not happy. He instructed the prof that he MUST grant the religious accommodation. He said that the main consideration was that the male student was SINCERE in his belief - so the religious scholars had nothing to say about it. The dean said that nobody would be harmed by this accommodation, if only the prof would NOT TELL the female students what was going on. Then there would be no harm done.
Link to news article
Comments in the newspaper are bogged down in racist comments, stupid comments etc (as per usual). So what does the SDMB think?
My opinion is that the professor was caught between two hard choices and made the right call. There is no valid religious reason for the male student to not want to work with females. Therefore this boils down to a student wanting his prejudices and biases respected. I say, too bad for the student. Let him go to an educational institution that is male-only if that is his desire.