MAY 25, 05:02 EDTJudge Rules in Mass. Feminist Case
By ROBIN ESTRIN
Associated Press Writer
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) A Boston College professor who barred male students from her classes on feminism remains out of a job following a judge's ruling.
At issue in a Middlesex Superior Court hearing Monday was whether Mary Daly's classes should be listed in next semester's course roster. College officials had refused to include them citing a school policy of keeping all courses open to both men and women and the judge said the school was within its rights.
``A professor's defiance of that policy in this case, a vehement and very public defiance would give the school ample grounds for her termination,'' Judge Martha Sosman wrote in her decision.
Daly, 70, known for works including ``Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism'' and ``Outercourse,'' claims the Jesuit-run school pushed her out when threatened with a lawsuit by a male student. The school says she retired when she was ordered to teach men.
When she first arrived at Boston College in 1966, Daly taught only men. The school of arts and sciences didn't admit women until 1970.
Soon after, Daly said, she found that men and women in feminist courses didn't mix. So she barred men from her seminars, although she said she has taught some two dozen men in one-on-one seminars.
When men are in a class with women, she said Monday before her court hearing began, ``the dynamic is totally interrupted.''
The litigation originated last fall, when senior Duane Naquin accused the school of discrimination after being kept out of Daly's course on introductory feminist ethics.
School officials demanded that Daly admit Naquin to her spring course. Daly said she refused and took a leave of absence instead. The college insists that Daly agreed to retire.
School officials say they can't allow her to continue teaching under ``separate but equal'' courses, which they argue violate federal anti-discrimination laws. They said they were pleased with Monday's ruling.
``It seemed to be the logical course of action to take, given that (Daly's) stated preference not to teach men is so clearly in violation of federal law,'' said Jack Dunn, a college spokesman.
Daly said she believes she is not violating the law known as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The law was designed to improve the situation of women which, she said, is what she's doing.
Gretchen Van Ness, Daly's attorney, said the college has used ``backdoor tactics'' to fire a tenured professor because she disagreed with them. She also warned that the case could have sweeping ramifications for academic freedom.
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