AR-News: Vegan opposing the use of animal products in classrooms

סמדר rumsiki at
Mon Mar 8 21:34:28 EST 2004

From:  interniche-l at 
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2004 3:24 AM
Subject: [interniche-l] Vegan opposing the use of animal products in classrooms 

(Ryerson's university, Ontario, Canada)

Vegan has beef with policy
Nutrition student refuses to work with animal products; she says prof 
told her, too bad
By: Astrid Poei 
Vegan Tanya Kowalenko may fail some of her assignments because she 
doesn't want to participate in any experiments involving animal 
products. (photo: Don mchoull) 
A nutrition student says her rights were trampled on after being 
forced to work with animal products in one of her classroom 
experiments or fail her assignment, despite her personal beliefs.
Tanya Kowalenko, a second-year student and a vegan, said she was 
ordered to attend a biochemistry lab on Feb. 20 or fail. She said in 
the lab, her professor instructed the class to dab egg yolk on a 
piece of test paper. The test was to determine the amount of lipid 
gels in eggs.
Kowalenko said she e-mailed her professor, Mario Estable, about a 
week-and-a-half prior to the lab, voicing her concerns. She said she 
was willing to do another assignment in lieu of working with animal 
products, but her professor said it wasn't a valid excuse.
"Part of the lab I wasn't really comfortable doing because there were 
animal products used in the lab, so I sent an e-mail and he wrote 
back that it wasn't a valid reason. I had to go to the lab," she said.
According to an e-mail from Kowalenko, Estable 
replied, "Unfortunately I am unable to accommodate your request for 
exemption from labs using animal products. If you miss the 
laboratories without a valid reason, you will consequently receive a 
zero for those laboratories missed.
"Adhering to a vegan diet is not considered a valid reason for 
missing the laboratories," he wrote.
Estable refused to comment on the situation.
Kowalenko has been a vegan for the last two years and does not 
believe in using any animal products or products that harm animals.
Chris Evans, interim chair for the department of chemistry and 
biology, said there are no rules governing this 
type of situation.
"As far as I know, in Ryerson's policy there are no policies covering 
vegan or moral policies, but we try to accommodate academic needs," 
Evans said.
"Usually these kinds of problems can be resolved by the student and 
Evans said he hasn't spoken with Estable but says that this 
particular lab was a partnered endeavour and Kowalenko could have 
asked her partner to work with the egg yolk.
Kowalenko admits she didn't touch the egg yolk, but feels wronged for 
being forced to work with animal products.
This is not the first time Kowalenko has had a conflict between her 
personal beliefs and Ryerson's curriculum requirements. Last year, 
she took two courses  food service management and nutrition  in 
which she was expected to work with animal products. But she says she 
was exempted from class work with no problems from her professors and 
did alternative assignments to earn her marks.
Kowalenko hopes that by coming forward with her story, she can 
emphasize that a person's beliefs don't have to be compromised under 
any circumstances.
"(I want to) get them to understand that people have different 
morals ... I was pretty upset that I had to do it." 

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