Sunday, April 09, 2006

Canadian University Charged With Favoring Jewish Students

David Noble, a Jewish professor at York University in Toronto, has filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission charging that the university discriminates against non-Jewish students because it cancels classes for the Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This week’s Forward, reporting on the controversy, says that 10% of York's 50,000 students are Jewish. York is the only university in Canada to cancel classes on any religious holiday other than statutory holidays such as Christmas. However, at York, students of other faiths can be excused from class on their holidays if they speak with their professors in advance. Prof. Noble claims that York’s policy violates the York University Act of 1965, which forbids the school from imposing religious observances on any of its members. Noble is already involved in another claim against the University in which he is seeking $8 million in damages. In that suit, now being arbitrated, Noble claims the University wrongfully accused him of "bigotry and racism" after he distributed a flier attacking the "pro-Israel lobby" at the York University Foundation, the university's fund-raising arm. [Thanks to Dick Schectman for the lead.]