harvard bans men from gym in favor of muslim females
03-05-2008 12:33 AM
harvard bans men from gym in favor of muslim females
Harvard tries women-only gym hours - Yahoo! News
BOSTON - In a test of Harvard's famed open-mindedness, the university has banned men from one of its gyms for a few hours a week to accommodate Muslim women who say it offends their sense of modesty to exercise in front of the opposite sex.
The policy is already unpopular with many on campus, including some women who consider it sexist.
"I think that it's incorrect in a college setting to institute a policy in which half of the campus gets wronged or denied a resource that's supposed to be for everyone," said student Lucy Caldwell, who also wrote a column in The Harvard Crimson newspaper critical of the new hours.
Student Ola Aljawhary, who is Muslim and works out elsewhere on campus but is not one of the women who requested the change, rejected that argument.
"The majority should be willing to compromise," she said. "I think that's just basic courtesy. We must show tolerance and respect for all others."
The trial policy went into effect Feb. 4, about a month after a group of six Muslim women, with the support of the Harvard College Women's Center, asked the university for the special hours, spokesman Robert Mitchell said.
"We get special requests from religious groups all the time and we try to honor them whenever possible," he said, noting that the school has designated spaces for Muslim and Hindu students to pray.
No men are allowed in the gym between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Mondays, and between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Even the staff during those times is all women.
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.
"It's a pretty big breach of their moral and religious code for a man to see them with their hair uncovered and it's just not possible for them to be in a mixed environment," she said.
When student Kareem Shuman showed up to work out at the gym on Monday, he was turned away but didn't mind.
"Knowing it was requested by women of my faith — it's very understandable to me," said Shuman, 21, who figured he'd just come back later for his workout.
Other men find the new hours inconvenient. Nick Wells, a junior who wrote an opinion piece in the Crimson criticizing the policy, suggested setting aside one room for women.
"It's not that I am opposed to the idea of helping people in religious groups or women in general, but I just think Harvard is not being fair to people like me who live (near the gym)," Wells said in an interview.
The policy only applies to one gym, a facility mainly used for intramurals. Because of its location at the edge of campus, it is the university's least used gym, Mitchell said.
The women-only hours are of minimal inconvenience because they are just six out of the 70 hours a week the gym is open, Marine said.
"Harvard has a moral and ethical responsibility to make sure our students can stay healthy," she said.
An Associated Press reporter who went to the gym Monday did not see any Muslim women entering. Efforts to reach some of the women who requested the policy through the Women's Center were unsuccessful.
The policy will be reviewed at the end of the semester, Mitchell said.
Kent Blumenthal, executive director of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, which has 660 member colleges and universities nationwide, said he could not think of any other institution with a similar policy.
"It seems in some ways contrary to the purpose of campus recreational programs, which is all about access," he said.
Harvard's policy is no different from commercial gyms that cater partially or even exclusively to women, said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.
"The Muslim bashers portray it as the world coming to end, but if women have a couple hours a week to work out in private, I don't see it as a major issue," he said.
03-05-2008 01:16 AM
Funny how special interest groups get catered to while the majority typically gets told to just deal with it.
03-05-2008 04:09 AM
I bet no Muslim country would make such accomodations for Christian women. Why must this crap go on in our country ? I'm getting sick of these brainwashed liberals who think they must please anyone who complains. This is straight up slap to the face of all males in Harvard. If they don't like it they can train at home.
03-05-2008 04:36 AM
Does remind me of this one story where a guy kissed a muslim girl on the cheek or something and they went NUTS. Saying it was disrespectful etc etc.
Why we cater to immigrants and not our own beings is beyond me. American land of free for immigrants, land of put up or get out for americans.
03-05-2008 04:51 AM
I'd have to say its the same if not worse in Australia and the UK (where i live now). Hell a few years back the Sydney Mayor banned Xmas decorations in the streets because it "might upset the minorities" and gone are the nativity plays at Xmas time. They are oh so offensive to the non Christian.
Originally Posted by ITHURTZ
03-05-2008 05:04 AM
Does that mean you cant decorate your yards? I know here in public places you have to have EVERY holiday displayed or none at all. **** even the pledge of allegiance with the word "god" in it people are getting defensive. I dont beleive in god, but you dont see me complaining. Some people truly have too much time on their hands
03-05-2008 06:15 AM
This subject opens a whole can of beans.....
I dont agree with shutting the gym for certian hours (funny thing is no muslim girl was working out when the AP visited at the specified times). Maybe designating a WOMEN ONLY AREA, or something.
They do that at my gym, and to be honest its fine with me. If I was a woman, I wouldnt want some hairy pervert (dsade) staring at me while I was working out.
Shutting the gym for 6 people is beyond me...
Reminds me of the time I wanted to use my local pool (as in pool with table and stick and balls (lol), and I couldnt go in between 6-9 pm as it was some local christians churches hours. People not belonging to a local church werent allowed in.
Total bs. totally.
03-05-2008 06:20 AM
yeah women only is fine. i think a lot of gyms are doing that these days. but muslim women only is a bit ridiculous. Are non muslim women allowed to workout in these times?
Originally Posted by MashedPotato
03-05-2008 06:31 AM
i believe harvard set it as muslim only women. Which is rediculous as the issue is men seeing them without their religious garments, not other women. (the rule for women to wear the religous garments, was set by men - just a piece of information for you)
Originally Posted by Australian made
03-05-2008 07:18 AM
Like they need a gym to work out. That is nuts and even worse all I can think if is when they do work out they don't shower them stinky clams. I hate going into a local store around here it smells like rotten BO,
03-05-2008 07:19 AM
America is not governed by religious Islamic law. Considering Harvard is a private institution they have the right to do whatever they want. I applaud their attempts at religious sensitivity and understanding, but anyone who comes to America should know and expect to behave like an American; that is, Coed gyms, for one. If you don't want to work out in front of guys, then don't.
I'm sorry, but isn't this going backwards...aren't we trying to liberate Muslim women in foreign countries? Meanwhile, Harvard is just moving in the opposite direction
03-05-2008 08:11 AM
I wouldnt worry about it. Actually i think its a fad, that will soon be forgotten. I have no doubt the "we have our own gym time" novelty will soon wear off and this topic will become obsolete as harvard scraps the idea next semester.
Originally Posted by RenegadeRows
03-05-2008 09:17 AM
3-5 is like my prime workout time. I'd be sooo pissed.
03-05-2008 09:59 AM
Another Liberal institution that forgets THIS IS ****ING AMERICA, if you dont like it, GET THE **** OUT! I wish they would ban fat sloppy females from the gym for a few hours when i go, but I DEAL WITH IT. AMERICA and its LIB INSTITUTIONS ARE SOFT, we are such a joke now.
03-05-2008 10:02 AM
You hit the nail on the head. How about the people who can only go to the gym at that time? Or have been members the longest. These people come to our country, get support from the likes of Barack Obama, and feel the need to COMPLAIN about the way things are.
Originally Posted by Dr Packenwood
03-05-2008 10:12 AM
They're the ones that get called racist when they complain.
Originally Posted by SureShot
03-05-2008 10:15 AM
America's new Motto: "When all else fails, play the race card."
You know I will always remember what my 5th grade teacher used to tell me or other students when we complained that "this isnt fair!" She was a white lady married to a chinese man, and all she said was "Life is not fair, learn to deal with it now and don't worry about others." In today's society I can see a kid running home and telling mommy and that teacher being accused of singling out or picking on the kid.
03-05-2008 10:32 AM
sort of ironic that there is an ad for singlemuslim.com on my screen right now but anyways..
I think its bullsh!t that Harvard is doing this, I dont feel comfortable working out in front of gays so do I get my own time in the gym?
I dont feel comfortable working out with fat girls in the gym who sit on the bar in the power rack ( are you F*ing kidding me, I really hate this )
I dont feel comfortable with 65 yr old men walking around the locker room with their 'fruit basket' hanging out.
I dont feel comfortable working out in front of the huge tool bag and his dad that always stare at me.
Where the Frick is my personal gym time???
F*n A man, people really go over the top with their rights and bull**** ( I believe in having civil liberties and rights but come on here ), suck it up and deal with the world like every other red-blooded american or go back home
-This may sound insensitive but WTF now, why do I have to suffer and rearrange my schedule because YOUR not comfortable. Give me a break
03-05-2008 12:53 PM
Screw em all wht pisses me off ios the parents that get offended when their children are asked to say The Pledge of allegiance in school. WTF I am going to teach my daughter to beat the crap out of those kids that dont. That really gets me going. Your in my country dammit respect it.
When our women go to Islamic countries they catch hell for not covering their heads. What is the diff here. Screw it I don't want to go over there and see there ugly asses anyway
03-05-2008 01:14 PM
Try to beat the Race Card -- I dare you..
Don't like Muslim Gym hours? RACIST
Don't like Christian Gym hours? GOOD YOU SHOULDN'T
Don't like Female Gym hours? SEXIST
Don't like Male Gym hours? GOOD YOU SHOULDN'T
Don't like All Black/Latino Colleges? RACIST
Don't like All WHITE colleges? GOOD YOU SHOULDN'T
Don't like Affirmative Action? RACIST
Like Affirmative Action? RACIST haha
You get the idea.. also, I get uncomfortable working out around men that are Christian, 210-215, Brown Hair, Blue Eyes, 5'11", and a predisposition to grunt.. so me and my 3 friends petitioned my gym and now those people are not allowed in from 3-5 =)
This site is relevant to my interests.
Similar Forum Threads
By bpmartyr in forum Politics
Last Post: 08-19-2008, 01:43 PM
By dsade in forum General Chat
Last Post: 11-15-2007, 05:09 PM
By anabolicrhino in forum Politics
Last Post: 07-24-2007, 11:52 AM
By BioHazzard in forum Politics
Last Post: 10-09-2006, 01:25 PM
By delta314 in forum Politics
Last Post: 03-15-2006, 02:06 PM