In the latest zany tale out of Canada, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a sex discrimination complaint by a University of Toronto student who signed up for a fall 2012 women’s studies class but decided he didn’t want to show up after he learned he was the only male enrolled.
The student, Wongene Daniel Kim, said he was too shy to be the only dude in the class, reports the Toronto Star.
“I felt anxiety,” the health science major told the paper. “I didn’t expect it would be all women and it was a small classroom and about 40 women were sort of sitting in a semicircle and the thought of spending two hours every week sitting there for the next four months was overwhelming.”
Did Kim drop the class like any reasonable person would? No. He did not. Instead, he remained enrolled but never went to class. Later, he politely asked the professor, Sarah Trimble, to exempt him from the 15 per cent of his grade related to class attendance and participation.
Kim, 20, ultimately failed the course. And he wasn’t happy about it.
“I’m generally a shy person, especially around women, and it would have been a burden if I had had to choose a group for group work,” he told the Star.
The disappointed student complained that he had spent a bunch of money for course materials. He also complained that he had no idea how badly he was doing because Trimble returned assignments to students in class and made no mention of grades on the course website.
“We live in a digital era. Why couldn’t she have posted the marks online?” Kim groused. “I believe if you want to attract more males to these courses, you have to work with them. My request for accommodation was reasonable.”
The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal disagreed.
“The applicant has not satisfied me that his claimed discomfort in a classroom of women requires accommodation,” ruled adjudicator Mary Truemner. “He admitted that his discomfort is based on his own ‘individual preference’ as a shy person.”