The University of Toronto has decided that a professor was not discriminating against a male student by giving him a poor grade after he never came to class because he was too shy to sit in a room full of women. You know, when you say it like that, it sounds pretty ridiculous. But still, it happened.
Wongene Daniel Kim, a second year health science major, took a gender studies course at the university because it fit with his schedule, and he was so unsettled to be the only man in a room full of women that he never actually came back to class after the first day. Needless to say, he didn't do well in the class.
"I'm generally a shy person, especially around women," Kim says, "and it would have been a burden if I had had to choose a group for group work." He claims that the professor was unwilling to work with him, refusing to waive the participation requirements for him and handing assignments back in class instead of online. When she ultimately refused to change his poor final grade, he filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Right's Tribunal, claiming he faced discrimination because he was male. They thankfully rejected the application.
This case reads like a classic case of a man who just expects the world to cater to his preferences. Being too shy to sit in a room full of women for a few hours at a time probably isn't all that fun, sure, but it doesn't give you the right to force other people to accommodate your preferences, not when women are regularly told to suck it up and keep going in the face of much more problematic difficulties like sexual harassment. But by all means, a professor should change the way she teaches and evaluates her students all because a male student is terrified of actually engaging with women.
The Ontario Human Right's Tribunal more or less agreed, determining Kim's allegation were unsubstantiated. Their ruling stated:
There is no reason whatsoever to accommodate personal preference — what if I didn't like redheads? — and when people try to use it for personal preference undermines the basic values of a post-secondary education dedicated to diversity and not treating any class of students as subordinate to others.
Overall, it's a shame Kim didn't ever go back to the class. It sounds like he really could have used some lessons in gender studies.