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LETTER – Special Accommodation (McGill University Fitness Centre )

LETTER – Special Accommodation (McGill University Fitness Centre )


Dear Ms. Fortier,

I am addressing you as  McGill University Alumnus.
During my time at McGill, from 1992 to 1996, I earned two law degrees.  Despite the heavy coursework, I still managed to find time to go to the gym and use the weight room, the exercise room, the squash courts and later the indoor track, once it was opened.
As a member of the Judo Club for four years, I was in the martial arts room twice weekly.  I served as a liason between the gym and the McGill Outing Club for many years.
After graduation I continued my connection with the McGill gyms as an instructor of the kayaking program, and also as an assistant instructor in the Aikido Club.
I have benefited greatly from the gym facilities and my memories and attachment to McGill Athletics and Recreation Centre are deep and strong.

I am now writing you to voice my opposition to the idea of sexually segregated hours, as is currently being proposed.  I understand that this trend is being increasingly explored at other facilities as well.   I consider the concept to be very much against the modern, liberal, socially open society that Canada represents and that McGill University should be encouraging.  I can understand the ideal of wanting to accommodate everybody, however, this ideal becomes self-defeating if you accommodate philosophies that are segregationist.
I understand that certain individuals, such as Soumia Allalou, claim that they cannot train nor benefit from the facilities because men are present.   It is of critical importance to the good of our society that a role model such as McGill University remain steadfast in pursuing liberal, inclusive and modern values.   The mindset of people such as Soumia Allalou is anathema to the ideals of a modern Western, liberal institution.  Allowing such people to impose discriminatory policies would be an explicit approval of such a retrograde mindset and would be a step backward in the cultural evolution of our society.   If Soumia Allalo and people of similar viewpoints are incapable of evolving and adapting to the most basic of modern Canadian norms and values, then they will have to find, manage and or finance their own alternative manner of exercising their preferences and their prejudice.  Such should not be tolerated nor encouraged by an institution that is supported in large part by public funds.

The message sent by McGill University and by Canada as a whole to society and to the outside world should be as follows:
All are welcome.  All may bring with them their culture and practices.  None may impose their culture upon others, nor force their bias or their beliefs upon other groups or individuals.

To approve segregated training hours of the manner proposed is tantamount to importing a prejudice against both men and women at the same time.   Such is not the nature of the McGill Community to which I belong since twenty-three years.

Yours truly,

Daniel Romano, Esq



Letter published with Mr Romano’s permission


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