The University of York cancelled International Men's Day (IMD) on Thursday after outraged students, staff, and alumni protested comments made by a male faculty member and requested an apology for "the manner in which it [the release] was framed." Dr. Aidan Lee of the University’s Equality and Diversity Committee stated that "[although there's focus on] raising awareness about - and removing barriers for - women," there are "some specific issues faced by men" that must be addressed.
Dr. Adrian Lee, of the University's Equality and Diversity Committee, claims that men are "significantly under-represented in a number of academic disciplines." In specific areas such as academic staff appointments or professional support series, "the support staff complement is often heavily weighted towards women, with some departments employing no men at all in these roles." The United States Department of Labor shows in 2014, 36% of women were employed in educational and health industries and only 10.9% of males were employed in the same field.
Despite statistics, students and staff were offended by Dr. Lee and wrote an open letter to the Chair of the Equality and Diversity Committee, expressing their discontent. 200 signatures from students, staff and alumni supported the letter, demanding "a 'full account' of how supporting/promoting men's issues 'in this way' was acceptable by the committee." The group called for an apology for "the use of dubious scholarship in the claim that women are advantaged in hiring processes." Dr. Duncan's apologetic email was posted on the university's webpage, and the IMD event was cancelled. According to the IMD website, International Men's Day is "optional" and "focuses on...improving gender relations and promoting gender equality," ironically the main issue highlighted by women's rights activists.
Students are currently campaigning to reinstate International Men's Day because "it is important that we recognize men's day just as much as women's day. True feminists should be fighting for gender equality for both men and women. To cancel men’s day is simply hypocritical. Equality is not just for women and should concern both genders."
What should the university do? Whose side are you on? Share your thoughts and start a discussion below.
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