I find myself in the minority on this one, thinking that the University should have accomodated student X, even if the accomodation was to placate his religuously induced discomfort with women.
An interesting bit of news came out this morning:
[Rhonda Lenton, Provost for York U] told host Matt Galloway the student's request for accommodation was supported because the class was billed as an online course and no interactions with other students would be required.
"The course had been advertised as an online course and the student had signed up for the course on the understanding that he would not be required to attend on campus," said Lenton. "If it had been an in-class on-campus course, the likely response here would have been that an accommodation would not have been provided."
I think much of my sympathy for student X stems from my own fairly recent experiences with on-line courses. They're kind of a rip-off, and really the only advantage to them is the fact that you don't have to be at a particular place at a particular time to complete the work and get your credits. And it is that feature, generally speaking, that you are paying for when you enroll in one.
Now, the reason you don't want to be at a particular place at a particular time...should that be relevant?...as long as the course you sign up for states up front that you won't have to be?
I don't think so. Since we know that the course syllabus said your physical presence was not required, and we know another student was granted an exemption from the same project, this project was obviously considered non-core material. In a sense, student x was punished by his professor for his religuous beliefs...made to do work he wouldn't otherwise have had to if he hadn't invoked his religion as a means of getting out of it. If he had begged off because he was going to be elsewhere at the time...snowboarding in the Alps, perhaps...there wouldn't have been a problem.