The University of York Has U-Turned On Its Decision To Mark International Men’s Day
Last week the University published a press release detailing its plans to mark International Men’s Day on 19th November 2015. The statement on the University website was met with anger on social media by students, alumni and staff at the University of York.
You can read our report here, with people’s reactions to the original decision.
— University of York (@UniOfYork) November 16, 2015
Almost 200 people came together to sign an open letter to the University.
The letter states there would be “a significant reputational risk to the university in aligning itself with International Men’s Day” and requests from the University “a full account of the means by which a decision to promote men’s issues in this way was reached by the Equality and Diversity Committee.”
The original statement was removed from the University website and replaced with an apology before the open letter could officially be sent.
The updated statement reads “We are sorry that this has caused unhappiness for some members of the University community who felt that the statement was inappropriate and should never have been issued.”
“The Equality and Diversity Committee is clear that the main focus of gender equality work should continue to be on the inequalities faced by women, and in particular the under-representation of women in the professoriate and senior management. We believe that we can make meaningful progress in addressing these issues, while at the same time addressing other aspects of the equality and diversity agenda.”
“In the meantime, the statement marking this year’s International Men’s Day has been withdrawn and we can confirm that we will no longer be marking International Men’s Day 2015.”
Many remain unimpressed by the way the University responded.
@hannahkateboast 'sorry this has caused unhappiness''.Caused unhappiness?That's kinda minimising the issue. May as well say 'Calm down dear'
— Triona Fitton (@TrionaJane) November 16, 2015
— Josh Fillips (@LeJoshFillips) November 16, 2015
We contacted the University to ask them whether they plan to address the signatories’ concerns more fully.
University Registrar and Chair of the Equality and Diversity Committee, Dr. David Duncan responded: “We have advised the open letter signatories that the Committee will give further consideration to their comments. Given the response this year, we have no plans to mark [International Men’s Day], though I am aware that other universities may be planning to do so.”