Presidential reaffirmation on the matter of religious accommodation

Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri, president and vice-chancellor of York University

I and others continue to be asked about the University’s position with respect to a York student’s request for religious accommodation.

I am writing today to reaffirm the University’s position on the issue of religious accommodation.

York is a secular university, and as such, is committed to the principles associated with secularism. York is also respectful of its legal obligations, including the duty to accommodate. However, the right to be accommodated is not limitless.

York’s official – and my own personal – position is that religious accommodation cannot infringe on rights such as gender equality and academic freedom that are guaranteed in secular institutions. Should that happen, it is wrong and it cannot be tolerated.

The incident that raised this concern was complex. However, let me be very clear that this particular request for religious accommodation was never granted.

York is proud of its identity as a secular university, and we remain committed to upholding the values of equality, inclusivity and tolerance that form the foundation of our community, and which are indispensable to any civil society.

Mamdouh Shoukri
President & Vice-Chancellor