Harvard sets up women’s gym times to accommodate Muslim requests

Harvard University’s trial policy of denying men use of one of its gyms for six hours a week is causing frustration and controversy among some students. The decision was made to accommodate Muslim women to use athletic and exercise facilities without compromising certain moral obligations relating to gender rules. The Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center has been open only to women from 8-10am on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 3-5pm on Mondays, allowing some Muslim women to dress more suitably for exercising. Critics of the move say that cultural notions of modesty become unnecessarily merged with religion, and cite that while only 6 students complained of no female-only hours, the result is now leaving half of the facility’s members shut out. However, proponents cite that the move is expanding the choice for some women who do not feel comfortable exercising in front of males. While the issue has been the topic of debate on a number of news talk segments, the Harvard Crimson suggests that on campus, students’ negative reactions were more directed towards the media than to the policy change.