Re: Allah (swt) is my spotter

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I see an Islamic "Porkies" movie coming from this.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:18 AM
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. My second thought is that this article will, stupidly, get kicked around as yet more evidence of liberal academics signing the death warrant for their own culture.

Already done. I think I saw a comment about it on The Corner to that effect.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:18 AM
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1: So hilarious, so haram.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:19 AM
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Still, closing down public facilities to cater to religious nuttery? Bad idea.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:27 AM
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Who would have thought it would come to this? Conservatives rallying around the idea that men and women should commingle while indulging, barely clad, in strenuous physical activity.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:28 AM
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In the grand scheme of things, this won't make much difference, because it's not as if the rest of America is going to sign on to Harvard's coddling of devout muslims. I suppose the non-hating question here is whether the policy enacted contravenes liberal/democratic/egalitarian principles. If it does, it's a bad accommodation, but if it doesn't, no problem. Obviously the topic is contentious, even apart from the scary brown people.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:34 AM
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I have been to the gym in question, but not since its recent renovation- the exercise area was/is small so a separate room isn't practical, but why not do a separate room at a larger facility instead of closing a whole building to men?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:37 AM
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The fact that it's one of several gyms, and not all that many hours, makes me tentatively think it's all right -- it's opening facilities to people who wouldn't use them otherwise, but not closing them to anyone. But I'm tentative on this, and could be talked out of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:37 AM
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Don't Orthodox Jewish/Muslim men need single sex accomodation too? What gives?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:38 AM
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4: if it were a women only weightlifting club with no religious affiliation would you care?

Another thing I don't get: how is it that "dhimmi", which I understand to have originally meant "Muslim states making accomodation for non-believers", has now come to mean precisely the opposite of that?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:40 AM
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Don't Orthodox Jewish/Muslim men need single sex accomodation too? What gives?

Yes, there was a big uproar about this at Yale a few years ago. I don't think anything came of it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:40 AM
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is whether the policy enacted contravenes liberal/democratic/egalitarian principles.

Well, the quick and dirty way for me to make the call on these things is, if the gym was being restricted so a bunch of fundie dudes could work out without being subjected to the sinful sight of women in revealing clothing, would I be on board? No.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:41 AM
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We begin by accomodating the Muslims, Sifu, and end up being accomodated by them! By some sort of jujitsu.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:41 AM
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Another thing I don't get: how is it that "dhimmi", which I understand to have originally meant "Muslim states making accomodation for non-believers", has now come to mean precisely the opposite of that?

I think conservatives, sincerely or more likely not, interpret the history of such arrangements as comprising more subjugation than accommodation.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:43 AM
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Although I guess Harvard is not really a public university, so not the same as a state run place doing it.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:45 AM
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Don't Orthodox Jewish/Muslim men need single sex accomodation too?

I find myself objecting to the verb "need" here.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:03 PM
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Also capitulating to the Islamic Hordes (tm): Curves Gym


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:04 PM
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It seems like a bad idea to tie this to religion, but I'm ready to believe that it's worth setting aside some women-only hours simply because of how often I've heard that a preponderance of guys can make parts of the gym seem inhospitable (the best parts, too!). They should probably provide an equal amount of dudes-only time, though.


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:04 PM
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Last I checked, lots of putatively Christian women also preferred to stretch, bend over and jiggle without men standing behind them.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:06 PM
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Well, the quick and dirty way for me to make the call on these things is, if the gym was being restricted so a bunch of fundie dudes could work out without being subjected to the sinful sight of women in revealing clothing, would I be on board? No.

What if that's what motivated the suggestion, but the actual support for the policy is motivated by the (I believe accurate) belief that there is a subset of women that is much more likely to work out if those women don't have to worry about getting oggled.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:06 PM
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16: How's "Aren't Orthodox Jewish/some categories of Muslim men religiously prohibited from working out unless they have single sex accomodations as well?" I'm actually not sure that I'm right about that, but I might be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:12 PM
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I do not want my gym to be dudes-only.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:15 PM
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22, see 19 and 15.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:16 PM
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21: Wasn't really objecting to you, so much, as your putative religious folk. See 12, for instance.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:22 PM
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Seriously, though, given the number of gyms, and the fact that they aren't, like, restricting it to Muslim women, how is this different from [violating the analogy ban]?

Say, I think I just identified a problem with talking about this here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:24 PM
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Sometimes I feel embarrassed because I am invariably the only male among fifteen females on the elliptical machines. Why, sometimes I feel out of place just because I don't have a ponytail.

But at least if someone I know sees me in the gym, they see that I'm in the gym.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:28 PM
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We had a women-only machine room at my college. Seems perfectly sensible. I know I checked out the girls in the weight room. I don't think I ogled, but, workout clothes are generally pretty hot, as is working out.

So while I'm not big on coddling religious practices, this like a good idea on it's own merits, so my general rule is: don't be a jerk about it.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:30 PM
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I'm in favor of increased sexual segregation in society. It eliminates irrelevant distractions that cause us to focus on short-term rather than long-term incentives.

Particularly in middle school.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:35 PM
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honestly though, I think Hhhharvard has more than enough money to accommodate women with an additional, permanent room or facility, maybe one that's more centrally located, too. Do that, and they can get rid of the whole religious backstory to this compromise deal.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:35 PM
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Hhhharvard

I saw a dude wearing a shirt that said "HAHVAHD" in that "college name" typeface yesterday. It made me chuckle.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 12:41 PM
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Seriously, Harvard could probably get some oil money to build separate-sex gyms and all would be well.

In general, I can understand that some women (for all sorts of reasons) want to work out in single-sex contexts. This seems like reasonable accommodation if there are plenty of other facilities and hours available; if not it might be too big an imposition on the majority.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:03 PM
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5: O, and the old women, too! It's like they've read Republic.

It's a small, out-of-the-way gym, right? And they're restricting by gender, not by religious fealty? The boys can exercise somewhere else from 8-10 those couple days a week?

I figure the women are paying for a gym through tuition and fees (and can't opt out of the gym fee), and that it's a relatively small accommodation, and that no one would give a flying fuck if it didn't allow them to knot their jock straps over Muslims.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:11 PM
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Local news has been all over this for like, a week now.

My second thought is that this article will, stupidly, get kicked around as yet more evidence of liberal academics signing the death warrant for their own culture.

Yeah, that pretty much nails how the coverage has gone.


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:14 PM
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Yeah, frame this as a women's issue (the curves parallel come to mind) and it's ho-hum. I hate people sometimes.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:19 PM
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huh. my immediate reaction was: that sounds nice. i wonder if i should get directions and go exercise there myself, during the women-only hours.

yay being around fellow chicks.


Posted by: anonymouse | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:19 PM
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Last I checked, lots of putatively Christian women also preferred to stretch, bend over and jiggle without men standing behind them.

Lots, but just so we're all clear, not all...

Seriously, though, I really don't see what the big controversy is here. They made a facility available to a segment of the population to whom it would otherwise have been unavailable at minimal inconvenience to anyone else.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:23 PM
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Well, the quick and dirty way for me to make the call on these things is, if the gym was being restricted so a bunch of fundie dudes could work out without being subjected to the sinful sight of women in revealing clothing, would I be on board? No.

This seems to make sense. I wouldn't be sympathetic under those circumstances.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:30 PM
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I would be, still.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:33 PM
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I agree with #20. That's just as valid a religious reason.

If the very presence of men makes these women uncomfortable, then...what? How is that more respectable than the very presence of women making men uncomfortable?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:35 PM
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They're MUSLIMS, Di. That makes it controversial, such that poor widdle Ben H. won't give them money now.

There's an interesting question about whether the religious-based nature of the request is a suitable reason to deny the request. But you know, when it comes to hyperventilating conservatives, cast not thy pearls before swine.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:35 PM
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39 -- It's significant to me that, as I understand it, the presence of men doesn't merely make these women "uncomfortable." It would violate the tenets of their religion. Like LB, if the same applied in the opposite direction, I'd still be sympathetic.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:37 PM
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39: All of these things are just a matter of balancing the needs of the few against the convenience of the majority, and what the cost of the accommodation of the smaller group is.

The religion drops out of it completely as far as I'm concerned. If there were a group of men who wanted one weight room of several on campus female-free for six hours a week at the intramural gym (where it's likely that most of the gym isn't 'free' for the casual exercise user anyway), fine.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:39 PM
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Yeah. I should say that my claim to be sympathetic was restricted to a world in which some Christian sect was claiming truthfully to be religiously barred from working out in the presence of members of the opposite sex in workout clothes. In the real world, where to my knowledge most Christian sects don't have such a bar, I would probably assume people asking for such accomodations were being jerks.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:40 PM
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So gender discrimination is ok if it is based on a religious belief?

How about sexual orientation discrimination if it is based on a religious belief?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:41 PM
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where to my knowledge most Christian sects don't have such a bar

I went to high school with a girl whose church didn't allow men and women to pray together.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:42 PM
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43: Jerks? That doesn't sound very different from the scenario you said you would be sympathetic to.

More likely they operate in daily life as if there was such a bar, even if there isn't, and wish to be accommodated by everyone else.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:42 PM
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42: But aren't the needs of a group who seeks accomodation for religious reasons slightly weightier than the needs of a group who just wants to exclude women for their own whim?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:42 PM
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47: no.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:44 PM
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I think it's between convenience and religious requirement; it sounds like wearing the kinds of clothes that would make it permissible to work out alongside men would be difficult but not impossible:

The special hours allow the Muslim women, who adhere to traditional dress codes by covering their hair and most of their skin while in public, to dress more appropriately for exercising, said Susan Marine, director of the women's center.

There's a continuum here; I've seen hijabis on the treadmills in more or less regular garb-- sweats and loose shirts. On the other hand the women who think they can't go out without a mehram can't really be college students.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:45 PM
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What's gender discrimination? While 'separate but equal' is bullshit with respect to race, it's got some limited application in gender matters -- public bathrooms and locker rooms, I don't see a problem with separation, on the grounds that most people feel that modesty requires it. For people who have religious reasons to think that modesty requires further separation and accomodating that doesn't burden people outside the religion to any significant degree, I don't see a reason not to accomodate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:45 PM
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"religious reasons" means their interpretation of their own religion, which reflects their own priorities, or whims, for short.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:47 PM
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For people who have religious reasons to think that modesty requires further separation and accomodating that doesn't burden people outside the religion to any significant degree, I don't see a reason not to accomodate.

So, in part, your view of what an acceptable religious belief is plays into this idea?

How about sexual orientation discrimination?

Religious group wants to be separated from gays at the pool from 10:00 pm until midnight when very few people use the pool. Ok?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:48 PM
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44: Not really. It's a gym mostly used for intramurals, which means I, as a non-participant in the basketball league, can't use the floor for shooting hoops during practice. There are times at university gyms when the pool is for the swim team, or for local children having lessons. Blocking out a couple hours is really no more unfair than the weightlifting class hogging the machines.

47: Only to the extent the beliefs are more dearly held and within a context that we generally respect as a culture. (The wingnuts having dhimmigasms over this probably aren't upset that the university doesn't hold Sunday classes, or that there's a kosher cafeteria at the Jewish center.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:49 PM
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So, in part, your view of what an acceptable religious belief is plays into this idea?

I'm not following why you think this makes sense as a restatement of my position.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:52 PM
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I forsake thee, thread!


Posted by: Analogy Ban | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:55 PM
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ignore that part for now. We can come back to it. Assume it is a legitimate belief in the evil of the gay.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 1:55 PM
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I'd put that over the line in terms of burden, in that it requires anyone who wants to use the pool at that time to publicly affirm their sexual orientation (or actively conceal it) in a society where that can be fraught.

It also doesn't quite make sense to me as a belief. Are we talking about animus or modesty? If in some future society where homophobia isn't a significant problem, and there were a sect with a belief that one shouldn't be scantily dressed in front of people who might be attracted to one, I could see a workout accomodation for 'straight men only' and 'straight women only', assuming it weren't a practical burden on anyone else. But not in the world we have today.

(Maybe I'm understanding your 'only acceptable religious views' now. Yeah, I'm fine with the goal of accomodating religious beliefs not based on animus, so long as they don't burden others practically, but if we're talking about animus, that's not on. I wouldn't support even the mildest accomodation for a group with a 'religious' objection to being near members of other races, for example.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:03 PM
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Will, what religion exists that prohibits its adherents from swimming in the same pool as a homosexual?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:07 PM
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36

"Seriously, though, I really don't see what the big controversy is here. They made a facility available to a segment of the population to whom it would otherwise have been unavailable at minimal inconvenience to anyone else."

The perception that the same institutions that are generally hostile to conservative Christians fall all over themselves to accomodate Moslems probably has something to do with it.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:09 PM
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Will, what religion exists that prohibits its adherents from swimming in the same pool as a homosexual?

I do not know. But, would it shock you that some religion thought that was unclean and against their religion?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:12 PM
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There's a chain of private gyms in the Boston area which is only open to women. (The spa caters to both.) There are non-Muslim women who are uncomfortable exercising around men for non-religious reasons, so it doesn't seem too daft to me.

I belonged to a small gym which had a tiny weight room that was just for women.

My sister, funnily enough, hates working out without men around. She feels that they push her to work harder.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:16 PM
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Will, what religion exists that prohibits its adherents from swimming in the same pool as a homosexual?

Scientology.


(You can always blame the Scientologists.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:18 PM
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BG is correct. There are a bunch of gyms that are open only to women. Victory lady, etc. (They are shockingly inexpensive here.)

I am not suggesting that some women do not want to work out around men. That doesnt surprise me at all.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:22 PM
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59: Then they need a reality check. What have conservative Christians been unable to do on a college campus that a Muslim group can? I see a pro-life group, I see lots of Bible studies being advertised on university boards, I see religious centers with the university's permission.

The Christian group can't force other people to be Christian, but the Muslim group isn't doing that, either. So I call shenanigans.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:23 PM
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59
The perception that the same institutions that are generally hostile to conservative Christians fall all over themselves to accomodate Moslems probably has something to do with (the big controversy).

The false perception, yes. This is controversial iff you believe things about Harvard that aren't actually true. Given your own set of facts, you can reach almost any conclusion. Given the real set of facts, though, or at the very least the set of facts agreed upon by people willing and able to read this blog, your options are more limited.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:23 PM
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60: Yeah, actually it would. I can imagine any number of religions whose adherents would be grossed out by the presence of homosexuals because they consider homosexuality a sin. I cannot imagine any religion that would consider being near a homosexual a sin.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:24 PM
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My sister, funnily enough, hates working out without men around. She feels that they push her to work harder.

"Come over to the Abdominator and let me shout slogans at you! Reach over the top! Master your ass! Go faster max!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:25 PM
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She feels that they push her to work harder.

Normally, you do not want someone from the opposite sex asking you if you "feel the burn?".


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:27 PM
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#8: The fact that it's one of several gyms, and not all that many hours, makes me tentatively think it's all right

It's one of several gyms, but Harvard's campus is big. Generally, students work out at the gym closest to their dorm. So the gym in question, the QRAC, is the "main gym" for the students who live in the area right around it. The guys in this area are now being asked to schlepp their asses across campus during women's hours --which are actually relatively prime hours for gym use (Mondays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m).

Frankly, I'd be pissed if I were shelling out Harvard tuition dollars and then denied access to a common area. And the kicker is... very few Muslim women are even taking advantage of the new schedule at all.

You can read Harvard students opining on the situation here and here. IMHO, this sounds like a bad move all around. It helps almost no one, while angering many and setting a bad precedent.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:31 PM
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"feel the burn?"

Yes. I think we need more lube.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:32 PM
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So the gym in question, the QRAC, is the "main gym" for the students who live in the area right around it. The guys in this area are now being asked to schlepp their asses across campus during women's hours --which are actually relatively prime hours for gym use (Mondays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m).

On the other hand, if you get Quadded, you might as well get used to inconvenience as a lifestyle.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:34 PM
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while angering many and setting a bad precedent

You seem at odds with yourself. How bad a policy can it be if it upsets some Harvard wankers, and so how bad a precedent can such a policy be?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:35 PM
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I'm surprised this is such a big deal. The two pools (both council-run) I've been swimming at for the last 15 years both had/have women-only nights. Of course, the one I go to now has kind of fucked that up by having male lifeguards and a mixed (divers and coaches) diving club session going on the adjacent pool.

On other nights, the pool is very male-dominated. And men can be obnoxious arseholes. (Of course, on women-only night I don't find myself wondering if there ever was an Unfogged consensus on whether boys do in fact like girls who can swim because, well, I might just be tempted to push my luck one of these days ....)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:36 PM
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69: Likewise, I'd be pissed if I were shelling out Harvard dollars and told that I had to risk overheating or going against my religion because six hours out of seventy were too much of an imposition. (Not sure of their hours, but 8-10am is dead time at my university gym, right after the morning exercisers and before the late risers.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:38 PM
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They're MUSLIMS, Di. That makes it controversial.

Exactly. Fail to oppose this, and next thing, one of them will RUN FOR PRESIDENT.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:40 PM
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if there ever was an Unfogged consensus on whether boys do in fact like girls who can swim

Well, we do know that at least one front-page blogger is fond of girls who can swim...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:41 PM
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C'mon Di, no one listens to HIM!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:43 PM
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I like girls who can swim. Not that I have ever dated one. (BR is trying to get better though.)

But I already like asilon, so the swimming part is just a bonus.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:46 PM
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59

"The false perception, yes. This is controversial iff you believe things about Harvard that aren't actually true. Given your own set of facts, you can reach almost any conclusion. Given the real set of facts, though, or at the very least the set of facts agreed upon by people willing and able to read this blog, your options are more limited. "

Ok, the reason this is controversial is that the world contains people who don't agree with the Unfogged concensus. Shocking I know.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:47 PM
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8-10am

the guys should get up earlier. If they cant, they lose their man card. Oh wait, we cant say that anymore.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:48 PM
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69: Likewise, I'd be pissed if I were shelling out Harvard dollars and told that I had to risk overheating or going against my religion because six hours out of seventy were too much of an imposition.

Your tuition dollars get you the same deal as everyone else. You have no reason to expect the university to inconvenience the rest of the community to suit your own particular religious preferences.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:53 PM
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It's also not unheard of for groups or classes to use the facility in a way that bans non-members from using the facilities at the same time. Children's swim lessons on Saturdays. Intramural basketball. Mother-baby wellness classes. Eh.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:54 PM
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81: But people do. I've rescheduled exams that had (accidentally) hit on Yom Kippur. I haven't seen any classes scheduled on Sunday, come to think of it. I believe there's a kosher facility affiliated with the university as well as a Catholic center and several other groups.

So how is this minor imposition different?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 2:59 PM
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So how is this minor imposition different?

Muslims.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:00 PM
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79: Okay, Shearer, enlighten us. In what way has Harvard been "hostile" to the poor Christian Fundamentalists?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:06 PM
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#83: None of your examples involve inconveniencing one group to benefit another. That's how this one is different.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:10 PM
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86: Sure they do. Cala's first choice for when to schedule her exam -- in her judgment the time when it was most convenient for her and her students -- had to be changed because the Jews in her class couldn't show up for it on Yom Kippur. It's not a big inconvenience, but it's an inconvenience.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:13 PM
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86: You'll have to do better than that given that merely restricting gym hours (as, e.g., an intramural team could do w.r.t., say, the basketball gym) isn't generally regarded as an imposition, even if it affects one group more than another.

(Not to mention that I doubt anyone would be unknotting their jock straps if Harvard had announced they were building a women's-only gym.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:16 PM
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I doubt anyone would be unknotting their jock straps if Harvard had announced they were building a women's-only gym

I would be kind of miffed if I was a Harvard student and they did that. They would have every right to do so however.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:18 PM
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87: So long as both times are university-approved times for exams to be taken, there is no particular reason why taking an exam at time A instead of time B should present an inconvenience. More likely, there is no real difference why one time is better than the other.

And, crucially, no matter how much of an "inconvenience" it may be to pick one time over another, the key point is that all the students are affected equally.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:20 PM
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That's my point. This whole 'but it's different because it's inconveniencing others' argument only makes sense if you expect that in the event that Harvard built a women's only facility (or a Muslims only gym), everyone would be fine with it because, after all, no one was being inconvenienced. I say unto you, infidel, please.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:20 PM
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90: Eh. I could have very easily decided to just have the Jewish kids take their quiz on a different day, and no one would have jumped on me about it even if it was 'different' treatment.

I rescheduled it because it was over 10% of the class and it inconvenienced ME to have to get everyone's schedules to match for a make-up. The only principle being invoked was not one of parity, but one of sloth.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:24 PM
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That's my point

Sorry misunderstood. I think the reasoning is the same with this however. As far as I know none of the facilities that you mentioned would not be closed to me if I wanted to use them. I might not have a desire to use them, but I could if I wanted to. I don't think this is a big deal and Harvard can do what they want, but I understand the push back.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:25 PM
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Harvard used to have a whole bunch of womens-only facilities. They were called, collectively, "Radcliffe". Men were fine with it, by and large, but the Cliffies wanted full integration.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:25 PM
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More likely? You're putting your thumb on the scale. I could just as well say that there's no reason to think anyone will be inconvenienced by having one gym closed to them for a short period of time each week -- given that everyone, even in the nearby dorms, has to go all over campus for their various classes and obligations, what are the odds that it would be genuinely inconvenient for anyone to use a different gym in that time-slot?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:25 PM
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More likely? You're putting your thumb on the scale.

Irrelevant to the key point, which is that everyone is treated equally.

If Cala rescheduled the exam for the Jewish kids only, and that ended up giving them extra time to study, that would be a different story.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:29 PM
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If Cala rescheduled the exam for the Jewish kids only, and that ended up giving them extra time to study, that would be a different story.

But would also have been perfectly conventional, and there's pretty much no chance that anyone would complain about it. (And if she scheduled the Jewish kids earlier, the gentiles would have more time to study.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:31 PM
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But GB, when the pool is closed off for kids' swim lessons or the gym closed off for an intramural basketball league, that inconveniences the majority who are not kids in need of swim lessons of people not on an intramural team or whatever.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:32 PM
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the key point, which is that everyone is treated equally

...at the most exclusive private university in the United States.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:33 PM
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85

"79: Okay, Shearer, enlighten us. In what way has Harvard been "hostile" to the poor Christian Fundamentalists?"

In my original comment I said "perception". If you asked in an opinion poll "Do you think institutions like Harvard are hostile to conservative Christians?" what percentage do you think would answer yes? I would and I don't even particularly like conservative Christians.

Perhaps this is just because conservative Christians complain a lot but I think they have a point. I see lots of hostile comments towards conservative Christians in liberal circles (like this blog) which I think would be considered uncool if directed towards Moslems.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:36 PM
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And no one would have cared, and anyone who made a big fuss about YHWH Is My Grader scandal wouldn't be taken seriously.

I'd agree if this were the only gym on campus. But it's one of several, and gyms often have restricted hours for classes, intramural sports, kids' swim lessons, and this doesn't strike me as all that much of an inconvenience.

I read the school paper's articles, but I take that with a grain of salt given the freakout here a couple years back when the university decided that common law partners were eligible for gym access. Screaming undergrad columnists about how Their Gym was Crowded Enough without All Those Extra Grad Students Who Don't Even Pay, You Know. Sky hasn't fallen.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:38 PM
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But GB, when the pool is closed off for kids' swim lessons or the gym closed off for an intramural basketball league, that inconveniences the majority who are not kids in need of swim lessons of people not on an intramural team or whatever.

That feels different to me because it is a resource constraint. You can't have two games of basketball on one court so there is a reservation system. That doesn't really apply to a general gym setting. I wouldn't be upset if I couldn't use a court because they all had teams on them. I might be ticked if there were open courts, but I wasn't allowed to use them because it was league night.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:39 PM
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87 92

In other words, contra LB, Cala rescheduled the exam because she realized she had not in fact picked the most convenient time for everyone not because she had to.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:43 PM
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100: See, if there's no concrete basis for your perception, you don't get to be all offended when someone says they think the perception is false.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:46 PM
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103: She had to either reschedule at the cost of convenience to herself and her gentile students, or to treat her students unequally on the basis of their religion. In either case, no big deal, but of similar magnitude to the gym issue.

BTW, Shearer, is the archaic spelling of Muslim you use just reflective of being generally a poor speller, or do you intend it to make a point?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:47 PM
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All Those Extra Grad Students Who Don't Even Pay

Sigh.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 3:59 PM
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when i was a med student we used to change to the uniform in one locker room, male and female students together, one class at a time of course and nobody stared and it was just in med school, other places for example gym locker rooms are of course separate
so in Japan when i first attempted to change to the uniform in the common room my coworkers were startled and i was surprised and had to change in a dark room for film developing, so embarassing, female doctors were not that many and they did not have to change in the research facility where i worked, that's why perhaps there was no arranged room for change
and here i found myself surprised at medical students going around in their uniform on the streets without changing it at all, so different attitudes, not universal
i mean there are no any strict rules, so may be it's thoughtful to accomodate the religious people if there is a real need for them to do workouts separately


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 4:04 PM
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Perhaps this is just because conservative Christians complain a lot but I think they have a point. I see lots of hostile comments towards conservative Christians in liberal circles (like this blog) which I think would be considered uncool if directed towards Moslems.

I agree with Shearer's underlying point. I find conservative Christians a lot funnier than Muslims.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 4:13 PM
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105

"BTW, Shearer, is the archaic spelling of Muslim you use just reflective of being generally a poor speller, or do you intend it to make a point?"

Actually it probably reflects the fact that I am a baby boomer. I wasn't intending to make a point.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 4:15 PM
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LB called you archaic, Shearer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 4:19 PM
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104

"100: See, if there's no concrete basis for your perception, you don't get to be all offended when someone says they think the perception is false"

Who's getting offended?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 4:20 PM
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110

"LB called you archaic, Shearer."

Just more unfogged anti-boomer abuse.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 4:23 PM
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The Congressional Research Service seems to spell it "Moslem" as well, in at least one brief I read this week. Weird.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 4:36 PM
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While I sense that this topic has been beaten into the ground, I'm compelled to note that the whole analogy between (A) rescheduling a test for a class, and (B) regularly blocking gym access to men, is absurd.

(A) is a one-time event that ends up giving everyone the same treatment anyway and does not deny anyone any of the rights and privileges they hold as a university member. You don't have any right or expectation to take a test at a certain day and time. (B), however, recurs on a daily basis and strips half the university of their basic right to access and use a university facility during its hours of operation.

Finally, the impact of the single-sex decision is acutely and disproportionately felt by the poor male souls unfortunate enough to live near the chosen gym; they must rearrange their daily workout routines to bear the burden of accomodating the religious preferences of a very, very small minority of students. Indeed, not even all Muslim women students want or need single-sex hours. If I were a cynic, I would say this gym initiative is less about helping a few Muslim women work out, and more about Muslim student activists testing their political clout with the administration.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 7:28 PM
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How many times do I have to tell you people?


Posted by: Analogy Ban | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 7:32 PM
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Finally, the impact of the single-sex decision is acutely and disproportionately felt by the poor male souls unfortunate enough to live near the chosen gym; they must rearrange their daily workout routines to bear the burden of accomodating the religious preferences of a very, very small minority of students.

Do you think there are more Muslim students who want this arrangement, or more poor male souls who live near that gym and are passionate about exercising during that particular 6 hour window per week?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 7:36 PM
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Finally, the impact of the single-sex decision is acutely and disproportionately felt by the poor male souls unfortunate enough to live near the chosen gym; they must rearrange their daily workout routines to bear the burden of accomodating the religious preferences of a very, very small minority of students.

Look! It's the world's smallest multi-cultural violin!


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 7:57 PM
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Do you think there are more Muslim students who want this arrangement, or more poor male souls who live near that gym and are passionate about exercising during that particular 6 hour window per week?

The Harvard student newspaper reported that "So far, the attendance at women-only hours has been underwhelming."


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 8:06 PM
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114: I believe the class scheduling was brought up in the context of 'this wouldn't happen if they weren't Muslim.' Point is, universities make decisions navigating the balance between private religious practices and community standards all the time.

And one does not have an expectation of a right to work out at any given time. (And even if you want to call it a right, there's certainly no right-to-work-out-at-a-gym-within-X-feet-from-my-dorm, as Harvard has other facilities, and it would be hard to see how it would trump a right-to-work-out-at-all.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 8:13 PM
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118: And did the student newspaper have any report on what attendance at that particular gym was like during those particular hours before women-only hours went into effect?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 8:28 PM
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And one does not have an expectation of a right to work out at any given time.

What you do have is an expectation that you will not be denied access to general University facilities on the basis of your gender.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 8:29 PM
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If I couldn't use the women's locker room at my college I'd pitch a fit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 8:33 PM
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120: This is a good point. Few were going in to work out? Not even other non-Muslim women? Are we to believe that those were prime workout hours only for men?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 8:42 PM
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123: it has to do with our natural cycles. You wouldn't understand.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 8:44 PM
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A burka would really slow you down in a pool. Even more than overalls.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 8:50 PM
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OK, honest question: If (as gswift suggested in #12) a group of Chrisitian fundamentalist guys wanted men-only gym hours because women's spandex-clad bodies represent Satan's temptation, would you say:

(A) "That is a reasonable accomodation Harvard made on behalf of those fine fellows."

or

(B) "Those fundie sexist oppressors should wake up and join the rest of us in the 21st century."

Personally, I'd pick B. If you'd pick B too, but you approve of the current situation at Harvard with women-only hours at the request of Muslim students, why?


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 8:50 PM
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126: I don't think single gender gym hours -- assuming there are other gym facilities available -- are a particularly unreasonable request for either gender, for any reason.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 8:55 PM
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#120, 123: Unfortunately, the Crimson has not reported on the subject in any greater detail than what I've already linked to. But it stands to reason that "underwhelming" in this context means that there has been no noticeable increase in the number of women using the gym during those hours, relative to the number using it during those hours when it was co-ed -- in other words, that few if any women have begun using the gym during those hours to take advantage of the policy.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 8:57 PM
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It would make a difference to me whether the fundamentalist men thought that working out with women was a temptation to sin or that it was itself a sin. If a significant proportion of the student population could not workout without committing a sin, I would be sympathetic to the request for a modest accommodation. Whether the accommodation would be appropriate would depend on how many people would benefit from the accommodation and how many would be inconvenienced.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 8:58 PM
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129: ugh we're being so reasonable. That's how those dirty mohammedans get you!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 8:59 PM
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119

"114: I believe the class scheduling was brought up in the context of 'this wouldn't happen if they weren't Muslim.' Point is, universities make decisions navigating the balance between private religious practices and community standards all the time. "

Isn't it normal to provide an opportunity to take an exam at an alternative time to any student who states in advance that they are unable to take the exam at the scheduled time? In which case no special favors are being granted.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:00 PM
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128: Which could mean either (a) that few Muslim women are truly interested in women-only gym hours, or (b) that the hours chosen suck.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:00 PM
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130: Sorry. Won't let it happen again.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:01 PM
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does anyone under 70 work out between 8 am and 10 am?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:03 PM
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128 -- Funny thing about people: individual human beings are different from each other. That there are the same number of people (or of women) during the women-only hours could as well mean that some of the women who used to come during co-ed hours have rescheduled to other co-ed hours (perhaps because they go to the gym with someone of the other gender) and been replaced by someone for whom women-only was a critical requirement.


Posted by: NĂ¡pi | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:06 PM
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129 gets it right.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:08 PM
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126: I don't think single gender gym hours -- assuming there are other gym facilities available -- are a particularly unreasonable request

Here, once again, we run into the fact that Harvard's campus is spread out over a very large area. The guys in dorms near the gym in question would have to travel a great distance to reach the other gyms.

Here's a map of the campus. The QRAC is in the area labeled "The Quad". There are several dorms in this area, and the QRAC is intended for them to use. The main gym is the the Malkin Athletic Center , and it's located all the way down by the Charles River (roughly, across the river from the Business School), about a mile away from the Quad. There's also Hemenway Gymnasium, which is about half a mile away on the Law School campus, but it's mainly used by law students and is pretty run-down.

If you live in the dorms near the QRAC, you really don't want to be traveling to the other gyms for your daily workout.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:13 PM
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A whole half-mile? That's as far as I walk to the gym. Uphill! Both ways! In the snow!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:18 PM
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137: dude, I grew up in Boston. Walking from one end of Harvard Square to the other -- if you absolutely must work out at exactly that time -- not only takes 10 minutes or less, but is in fact pretty good exercise!

Or, you know, you could walk to the gym that's like a three minute walk but -- oh dear god no -- it's a little bit run down!

I weep for those poor Harvard men.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:21 PM
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There's also Hemenway Gymnasium, which is about half a mile away on the Law School campus, but it's mainly used by law students and is pretty run-down.

Oh, so it's not okay to restrict access for men for a few measly hours a week, but it's perfectly okay to relegate the law students to the shitty, rundown gym? The humanity! Who, who will speak up for the future lawyers?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:24 PM
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138, 139: But there are law students there. And God knows it's still perfectly acceptable even in this day and age to discriminate against the legal profession.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:27 PM
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141: besides, what if it's against some poor Harvard man's religious beliefs to workout near law students?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:29 PM
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Oh, so it's not okay to restrict access for men for a few measly hours a week, but it's perfectly okay to relegate the law students to the shitty, rundown gym?

Nobody's "relegating" law students anywhere. They are free to work out at the other gyms, but tend to go to the one closest to them, even though it's inferior to the others. Location, location, location.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:45 PM
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143 was me. I forgot to type my name in the field.

Anyway, I disagree that this issue should be resolved by plugging values into some impossible-to-calculate formula, such that if inconvenience "x" is lesser than than religious-interest group benefit "y", it's a'ight to discriminate. Harvard simply should not be in the business of accomodating one religion's gender biases at the expense of the rest of the community. If you want to walk around carrying a load of medieval views that prevent you from interacting in modern society, it's on you, buddy.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:51 PM
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Fuck vegetarian views, too. They have a limited number of chefs, and they damn well should be devoted every moment to coming up with more delicious meat-based dishes for me to consume. I'm not paying Harvard to fuck around with bean sprouts: they should be figuring out how to feed me more and better meat snacks, goddamit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:54 PM
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144: Got it. Gender discrimination, bad. Religious discrimination, good.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:55 PM
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Actually, as it turns out, Hemenway was renovated quite nicely 2 years ago. Before, it used to be a decrepit joke.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 9:59 PM
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#146: You don't got it. That's not what 144 says at all.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:01 PM
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147: but your larger point (that making somebody walk 2 extra minutes if they really must exercise during a specific 7 hours out of the week) still stands?

I mean, really, if any Muslim anywhere causes any non-Muslim anywhere to have to modify their behavior by the tiniest bit, the Mullahs will already have won.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:03 PM
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#148: In case you can't understand, failing inconvenience the general community to make special accomodations for the specific demands of a religious group does not represent discrimination against that group. In fact, in this case, it is the act of recognizing the demands of the Muslim student group that has resulted in actual discrimination against male students.

Treating everyone the same isn't discrimination. Treating one group differently is.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:06 PM
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#149: The larger point does stand. Even if in this particular case the harm suffered by Quad men is not extreme, we are now on the slippery slope of enforcing discrimination against classes of people due to the beliefs of particular groups. I don't think that's a game we should start playing.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:11 PM
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148: Not directly, no. But when you are taking the position that you are firmly opposed to accommodating someone's religious beliefs, regardless of how little the accommodation inconveniences anyone else, based on the fact that you consider the religious view medieval, you aren't exactly 1000 miles away from religious discrimination.

Hey, I'm not exactly a big advocate either of the strict limits on women imposed in the name of religion. But, you know, these young women are subject to that and I suspect you greatly overestimate the extent to which they could just up and walk away from it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:11 PM
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So by your calculus, GB, there really should only be coed restrooms and showers, yeah? You know, women's bathrooms are always nicer and cleaner, I hear: what the fuck is the deal not letting men use them? Similarly, all scholarships should be awarded by strict gender, class, and religion blind criteria. Similarly, admissions should not be weighed by gender, race, religion, or (cough) rich-ass old relative.

Similarly, the high-security dorm at Harvard, where they isolate the children of Sheiks and celebrity children and so on, should be abolished: the abduction of a couple-three students is a small price to pay for our glorious egalitarian future... at Harvard.

I mean, this is comical. It's fucking Harvard! The only reason any of us have ever heard of it is that it's discriminatory.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:12 PM
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I'm not a fan of scholarships being reserved for people of certain genders, races, etc. But at least getting a scholarship is not something you're entitled to simply by matriculating at Harvard. Nor is being housed in a "high-security dorm" (which, at any rate, is not allocated on the basis of race, religion, or gender). Being able to use the gym is.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:19 PM
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154: being able to use that specific gym at that specific time is something you're entitled to simply by matriculating at Harvard? Woe betide the maintenance staff should they try to deny suffering Harvard students their birthright by closing the thing down for repairs one morning.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:22 PM
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See, scholarships are reserved for people of certain races and genders, etc. (in part) in recognition of the fact that people of certain minority races and genders start out with a disadvantage as a result of discrimination.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:25 PM
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156: or in recognition of the fact that some rich fuck wants to privilege his own kind, for that matter.

How about this, GB, we build another gym at Harvard, that's only available to the wealthiest 10% of students. Would that be fair?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:26 PM
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157: I know it was you, Sifu. You broke my heart.


Posted by: Analogy Ban | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:26 PM
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#155: Sigh. Being able to use the gym at those times when it is open for use is. Are you being facetious, or do you really not get the point?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:38 PM
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Well, uh, in light of 158, I'm just going to step slowly away from this ship....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:39 PM
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159: I'm trying to point out the inherent illogic -- especially when you're using slippery slope arguments -- of claiming that enrollment at Harvard entitles one to use exactly the gym one wants exactly when one wants for exactly what one wants.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:41 PM
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But really I'm trying to procrastinate.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:42 PM
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I had stepped away from the PC to do other things, but I just couldn't get the stupidity of #155 and #157 out of my head. That's when I realized Sifu was just jerking my chain. No one arguing in good faith could make an argument that dumb.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:48 PM
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I like to think we're jerking each other, big guy.

Allahu Akbar!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:50 PM
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Because of the several places in NYC where I've taught, I'm particularly sensitive to religious tolerance issues like headscarves and modest clothing and special cafeterias and curriculum issues and all of that. It should be possible for orthodox (whoevers) to comfortably attend non-religious universities. As long as they still do the work for their classes, which they're paying to take, and the college can afford to provide appropriate facilities to make home-away-from-home more comfortable, I'm kinda fine with that. Maybe there was a better way Harvard could have done it so men felt less inconvenienced, but it's pretty darn inconvenient that all of your new college friends from the dorm are going to the gym and there is never a time when you can join in without feeling like you're betraying not just your religion, but your family.

...which brings me to my caveat, which is that, as far as I have seen, the place where a lot of these complaints comes from is usually not the students themselves, but from their parents. 18-22-year-olds, even devout Muslims, are at the low ebb of their devotion to orthodoxy, especially the ones who go to secular schools, but also the ones who go to religious schools. But, man alive, do they get shit from their parents. Every phone conversation is "You went to the GYM? With BOYS?" and "You're studying WHAT in your LITERATURE CLASS?" and "You ate WHAT for dinner?"

Religious parents really want to know that their kid is practicing their religion faithfully all the time, and going to a secular school often means that there just aren't any structures in place for maintaining a religious lifestyle, except for, occasionally, a good Hillel or Newman center. But I wouldn't be surprised to find out that, behind a lot of these student complaints are some really incensed parents.

There was a lot more in this comment about the difference between Muslim and Jewish modesty laws and Christian neo-conservative sexism, but it was too obvious to need to spell out, I think.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 10:58 PM
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[Redacted for job security.]


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:10 PM
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Could someone redact my 166? Thanks. I realize that's not a wise comment to make.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 5-08 11:46 PM
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165: Exactly right. A very dear Muslim friend of mine was pulled out of college -- pulled out of the country, actually -- because of her parents' concerns about piety issues. Now, I don't know that there was anything that our school wouldn't have been willing to accommodate, but if adapting gym hours would have made the difference between her being allowed to stay and her having to leave, then I certainly think it would have been in EVERYONE'S interest to make the accommodation. Not just because orthodox students can benefit from attending elite secular schools, but also because elite secular students can benefit from hanging out with orthodox classmates -- socially, academically, etc.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 12:08 AM
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It appears women can use the gym x hours a week and men only x-6 hours a week which sure looks like sex discrimination to me. Why should men pay the entire cost of accomodating religious women?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 2:54 AM
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169: Would you be happy if the discrepancy was cured by barring women from the same gym for six hours, despite the fact that no one appears to be calling for single sex male only hours? If adding a minor burden that benefits no one is what's necessary to make this arrangement unobjectionable, I'm sure no one would mind too much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 6:07 AM
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I have thought of a solution that could satisfy everyone: Have one area of the gym where the workout machines each have their own little privacy screen around them. Shy or ultra-Muslim users of either gender could use these machines without being seen by others. You could wear a robe (or burka, etc.) when walking between the locker room and the privacy-screen area, taking it off only to work out. This wouldn't work for swimming, basketball, etc. but I am guessing most of the people who use the gym to "work out" are interested in the weight and cardio machines.

I still say this womens-hours thing at Harvard is less about the need for ultra-Muslims to feel the burn, and more about forming the thin end of a wedge to open up Harvard to further and more expansive Islamic-oriented policies down the road. I'm guessing the next steps will be foot-washing basins in the restrooms, Muslim-only prayer rooms in ordinary (non-mosque) buildings, a push for gender-segregated dorms and classes, and other good stuff. We'll see.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 7:19 AM
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Or what about adding extra hours that are women-only? No one's inconvenienced then, and nothing's been taken away. We could have a whole extra building that is women-only, and that wouldn't inconvenience anyone more than the Newman center, but it strikes me as a waste of resources.

168: My undergraduate institution had no problem with allowing a Muslim student from Bahrain to have her own single dorm room. (Even though it inconvenienced some poor senior who probably would have wanted a single, and I, as a sophomore, could not petition for a single.) Oddly, it didn't make the papers, but this was 1999, before we were all collectively nuts.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 7:22 AM
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171: So it's really not about inconvenience, but a slippery slope that first they came for our ellipticals, and now they came for our library?

I dunno. Last I checked, Notre Dame was still Catholic, even though they foolishly accommodated a Muslim student's wishes for extra privacy. They have single-sex dorms, but they had that before she enrolled, so.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 7:25 AM
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more expansive Islamic-oriented policies down the road.

You're kidding right? I mean, aside from greater tolerance of religious diversity in cities that are used to catering just to Christians?

Between that and Shearer's x hours a week and men only x-6 hours a week which sure looks like sex discrimination to me, I'm shocked white Christian males haven't started rioting in the streets. Doesn't the world know that it's their birthright to never be inconvenienced in any way for the comfort and inclusion of people so audaciously weird as to openly be women, or Muslims?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 7:25 AM
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I still say this womens-hours thing at Harvard is less about the need for ultra-Muslims to feel the burn, and more about forming the thin end of a wedge to open up Harvard to further and more expansive Islamic-oriented policies down the road.

Which would, of course, spell doom.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 7:27 AM
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I still say this womens-hours thing at Harvard is less about the need for ultra-Muslims to feel the burn, and more about forming the thin end of a wedge to open up Harvard to further and more expansive Islamic-oriented policies down the road

Heaven forfend.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 7:35 AM
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And there's also the corollary to AWB's very good point. It's possible that it isn't the students' wishes, but their parents' worries. Parents can pull kids out of school, or keep them from applying. (There's a reason I'm not an Ivy League grad, and it has everything to do with my dad being afraid to send me somewhere where the liberals would turn me into a lesbian.)

Sometimes this ends with the parents sucking it up. Sometimes there's enough call for a religious university. Sometimes this works out well. Sometimes you get Liberty University.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 7:38 AM
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You're all laughing at GB's comment, but it's surely right. Why, at my own institution, first the Jews built a Hillel center, now they have a kosher cafeteria. Where will the madness end?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 7:41 AM
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I'm shocked white Christian males haven't started rioting in the streets.

Though your brother pays tuition
They've restricted his gym hours
Won't you please come to Old Harvard
Just to sing
In a land that's known as freedom
How can such a thing be fair
Won't you please come to Old Harvard
Or else join the other side
We can save the world -
Re-arrange the world
It's dying - if you believe in justice
It's dying - and if you believe in freedom
It's dying - let a man live it's own life
It's dying - rules and regulations, who needs them
Open up the door
We can change the world


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 7:46 AM
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At my current institution, it's not uncommon for the more serious Muslim students to eat at the kosher cafeteria in the Jewish center. Kosher suffices for halal most of the time.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 7:48 AM
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There's a reason I'm not an Ivy League grad, and it has everything to do with my dad being afraid to send me somewhere where the liberals would turn me into a lesbian.

Wait a minute... My mom still harbors resentment that I wouldn't apply to Harvard for undergrad. Does this mean she wanted me to become a lesbian? Oh, how many ways can I disappoint?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 8:06 AM
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You could get divorced, maybe.

Oh, right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 8:12 AM
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it just grates on me the age-old silly ideas are given deference, while my own personally created silly beliefs are written off.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 10:04 AM
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Its like there's a bonus given for being especially close-minded and uncreative in one's eccentricity.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 10:06 AM
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170

"Would you be happy if the discrepancy was cured by barring women from the same gym for six hours, despite the fact that no one appears to be calling for single sex male only hours? If adding a minor burden that benefits no one is what's necessary to make this arrangement unobjectionable, I'm sure no one would mind too much."

I would be happier if the burden was distributed fairly yes. Another way to do this would be to require women to choose between women only or mixed usage.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03- 6-08 11:18 AM
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