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03-04-08, 10:27 PM #1
Women-only gym hours stir debate at Harvard
OSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- Harvard University has banned men from one of its gyms for a few hours a week, a move to accommodate Muslim women who, for religious and cultural reasons, cannot exercise comfortably in their presence.
The new policy is posted at the entrance to Harvard University's Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center.
The policy is already unpopular with many on campus, however, 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 February 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 morning, 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."never bring paws to a gunfight" - Jenna
03-04-08, 10:31 PM #2
It wouldn't bother me. I prefer to work out alone anyways, and if it makes them more comfortable, more power to them.
03-04-08, 10:38 PM #3
sorry but to me this is fucking retardedhttp://www.allpoetry.com/Grunts%20Girl
We dallied under
Vine maples and sapling alders
Searched for lady slippers
Found blackberry riots and
An old skid road
Brought ghost ferns and
Hollows filled with
While waves wrapped
Intricate lacings of weeds
'Round mule spinners
His cyanotic eyes
Were hard enough to make
The sun turn tail and
Tender enough to attract me
To his world of illusion
03-04-08, 10:39 PM #4
next think you know they'll want their own bathrooms and the right to vote.--
"And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon..."
03-04-08, 10:40 PM #5
We have a 24 Hr. gym that does female only hours they say woman are more comfortable working out absent of males.
03-04-08, 11:03 PM #6
I wonder if they let lesbians work out during those hours if they are so concerned about the males watching them?Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and the American G.I.
One died for your soul, the other for your freedom. ~ Anon
si hic carrus commovet non quaerete
RIP Scott L. Roth- Pfc 1st Platoon,401st MP Co, KIA 12/20/89- Operation Just Cause- Not forgotten.
03-04-08, 11:34 PM #7
What a shock, it's a bunch of liberals and feminists who go there anyway!
03-05-08, 03:25 AM #8
All together now... in unison...
to buy off (an aggressor) by concessions usually at the sacrifice of principles.
An appropriate definition of the word."When a crime is committed, liberals blame society. Conservatives blame the criminal." -Debra Saunders
Old Scottish Motto- "nemo me impune laccessit". It still holds true today.
03-05-08, 08:28 AM #9
So a private university decides to make slight changes to the rules for using one one of its facilities. At most it means a few dozen students have to slightly re-arrange their schedules. Big deal! A lot of gyms across the country have woman-only hours. I can't believe CNN and the Associated Press thought this was important enough to be a news story.
03-05-08, 09:48 AM #10
I'd consider that a MAJOR failure of the PR department at 'Haaavud', allowing the gym to specifically and openly respond to one religious faction's demands, rather than just painting with the broader brush and spin the change "for all women, whom we feel will be more 'comfortable' in an all-female environment."
I find it amusing when a slanted media venue gets caught in their own political trickbag while trying to sensationalize trifles, though.
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly. - Lovelace
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03-08-08, 04:41 PM #11
If these women can't work out among others, then make their workout hours midnight-6am...Alpha Phi Sigma Alum - Alpha Delta Chapter
03-08-08, 04:50 PM #12
In a way this is just another example of where the "minority" few rule and the "majority" have no say. Kind of like what is happenening all across the USA and the world.
Why shouldn't the minor few cater to the majority instead Jenna?? Why should the large mass re-arrange their schedules for a few??"An Unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper
Some people are meant to be the police......Some people are meant to call the police!!!
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General Norman Schwartzkopf
Not all Muslims are Terrorists, but all Terrorists are Muslim.
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03-08-08, 05:45 PM #13
Well I also would have to disagree with this new policy.
That's fine if they want to make "women's only" hours, for safety reasons or whatever.
As has already been stated, it's the minority taking control of the majority. SIX women wanted the change, so they gave it to them?
Originally Posted by Ola Aljawhary
I think the school should serve ONLY pork every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Pork helps me focus, thus, I would be a better student. Every cafeteria, vending machine, snack cart, ALL PORK. I'm sure I can find five other pork lovers who can support my decision.No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13
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We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.
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