Shy Student Situation or Discrimination?

Wongene Daniel Kim, a student at the University of Toronto, and a bit of an internet presence with over 15,000 followers on Twitter, has recently complained to the Human Rights board about gender discrimination. This is one more story in a slew of human rights debates happening at several schools right now. In a Women and Gender Studies course, he was the only male in a class of 40 women. As he is anxious around women, he refused to attend classes, and asked the professor to make exceptions for him because of his shyness, which she failed to do. The only argument that can be made for him is a mental health case, and suffering from a bevy of mental health issues of my own, I am definitely not one to gloss over this side of the story. Anxiety is certainly an issue, but anxiety and shyness are two very different things.  You can’t expect people to cater to your personal preferences. Maybe if you know that you feel shy around women, try NOT picking a course with the word “women” in the title. He also failed to present his case to the tribunal AS a mental health case – he said only that he felt discriminated against as a man, which throws this entire situation into a completely different ballpark of gender equality. When it comes to other similar stories happening now, such as the York University’s dilemma about a student refusing to work with women based on religious values, it’s really a case-to-case basis. In this instance, it’s a student who made poor choices and is now blaming everyone else for the repercussions.

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