National Post

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Thursday, August 12, 1999

College closes door on radical who refuses to teach men

Araminta Wordsworth
National Post



Mary Daly
A radical feminist theologian who refuses to teach male students claims she has been forcibly retired and locked out by her employer, Boston College.

Mary Daly attempted to unlock the door of Room 467 on Tuesday in front of an audience of journalists and television cameramen. Also in attendance were supporters carrying Mary Daly Defence Fund brochures and a "witch's broom."

"I can't get in," Ms. Daly said. "Do you see? It just doesn't work. But it did work last night."

Jack Dunn, a spokesman for the college, said it had painted the walls to prepare for a new teacher, but he denied it had changed the locks. He suggested Ms. Daly had intentionally used the wrong key.

The "lockout" is just the latest twist in a battle between Ms. Daly and the Jesuit-run institution, which has led to several lawsuits. At the heart of the fighting is the refusal of the 70-year-old to allow men to attend her seminars.

Earlier this year, she told Newsweek magazine, "Even if there were only one or two men with 20 women, the young women would be constantly, on an overt or subliminal level, giving their attention to the men because they've been socialized to nurse men."

Previously, when any men have had the temerity to try to take one of her courses, Ms. Daly has simply taken a leave of absence, betting they would lose interest in the interim.

The tactic paid off until last fall when senior Duane Napquin wanted to sign up for a class. When she followed the refusal/ leave of absence routine, he threatened to sue. His case has received legal backing from the conservative Center of Individual Rights in Washington.

For its part, Boston College claims the teacher has retired and the office is needed for her replacement. Last month, Middlesex Superior Court Judge Martha Sosman said the school "had adequate cause to terminate Daly," causing Ms. Daly to describe her as a disappointment to the gender and "an Aunt Tom."

She argues she is a victim of a right-wing conspiracy that reaches as far as the Vatican to undermine U.S. federal law against discrimination by gender. By the end of Tuesday's interview, a janitor had been found to open the door. It revealed only Ms. Daly's possessions piled in the centre of the room, including copies of her books, Pure Lust and Outercourse. The walls appeared to have been recently painted.

National Post, with news wires

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