A female student at a Toronto college says she can’t stand to see male students in swimsuits in her classes because she fears they will get caught in the water.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported on Tuesday that Shani Kaur, a biology major at York University, was forced to change into a bathing suit after a male classmate in the physics class asked if she was wearing a swimsuit.
Kaur says the male student was a senior who was the only male student in the class.
He told her that it was fine, but the way he dressed made it seem like he wanted to be more feminine.
“It was really, really weird to me,” Kaur told the CBC.
“I just didn’t feel comfortable in the swimsuit.”
But she says the interaction made her feel uncomfortable and she said she felt bullied.
“When I first heard about this, I was just like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t do that,'” Kaur said.
“The only person who has to wear a swim suit in my classes is the senior male.”
When a student told her he didn’t want to wear one, she asked the senior, “Why?”
He replied, “Because I don’t like it.”
When she complained, the senior replied, and told her, “I can wear it, but I won’t wear it to the class.”
Kaur has since posted an online video of the interaction on her Facebook page.
Kurgal has also asked students to change their clothing.
But Kaur’s experience is not the first time women in science have been forced to wear swimwear.
In 2016, the Canadian Press reported on a University of Ottawa student who was told she couldn’t wear a bathing cap in the swimming pool because it was too revealing.
“This has been happening for a long time and it is not going away,” said University of Waterloo physics professor Jennifer Bekesch.
“We need to make sure that everyone feels comfortable in their environment, that everybody feels that they can be themselves and that they are not judged for their body.”
The university says it has increased the number of male students it has in its classes and is increasing gender diversity in all disciplines.
“Students are aware of their body image and they feel comfortable and comfortable in whatever the environment is,” said university spokesperson Elizabeth MacMillan.
“If they feel uncomfortable, they can say that and we will address it.”
In May, Ontario’s public service broadcasting regulator asked a University at Buffalo physics professor for his resignation after he told a female student in a lecture class that he felt like a “woman trapped in a man’s body.”
In February, an Ontario student was accused of sexual harassment after she complained to the university’s student government.
In April, a Toronto professor accused a student of sexual assault, but said she was not disciplined after the student denied the allegation.
In May 2018, a University College London student who complained to university officials about a sexual assault was told by a professor that she was “inappropriate” for her gender and that “she should be ashamed of herself.”
She also said she didn’t believe the university would investigate the accusation because of her gender.
The university said at the time that it would investigate whether the allegations were “serious enough” to warrant disciplinary action.
The report also cited the university for not having a policy or process in place to protect its female students.
CBC News reached out to the University of Toronto for comment.