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University will stop canceling holiday classes

York University has ended its long-time policy of canceling classes on Jewish holidays.

The university’s senate approved the move at a recent meeting.

A spokesman said the change was made in part to reflect the growing diversity at the booming Toronto campus, which enrolls 51,000 students.

It stressed, however, that the move was unrelated to a complaint before the Ontario Human Rights Commission launched by history professor David Noble, who argued that closing the campus on Jewish holidays was unfair to students of other faiths who do not get the same rights for their religious observances.

“We won, and I’d like to welcome York University to the multicultural society of Canada,” Noble, who is Jewish, told the Toronto Star.

Noble defied campus practice last month when he held a three-hour seminar on Rosh Hashanah.

York University began its practice of closing on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in 1974.

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