The University of Regina has installed two special washing stations for the religiously observant amongst the 800 Muslim students there, who are required to wash both hands and feet before praying five times a day. Ergonomically speaking, the new bidet-like apparatuses are an enormous improvement over the awkwardness of washing one's feet in ordinary hand basins, which was the only alternative before.

This seems to me to be a "reasonable accommodation" for students who benefit greatly from the convenience, since the designated sinks involve a fixed cost, not significant in the scheme of things, requiring little to no maintenance and more important, having no effect on anyone else other than the positive one of sparing other students the off-putting sight of feet in sinks meant for hand-washing.

Do dedicated prayer spaces, provided by universities, fall under the same rubric of "reasonable accommodation"? That is the question raised in a Montreal Gazette story on the challenges religious students face at Montreal universities, both Anglophone and francophone. At McGill, Catholics can pray at the Newman Centre and the Birks Chapel, both on campus. Jewish students can pray at Hillel House, which serves a variety of needs, like kosher Sabbath meals and holiday celebrations for out of town students, as well as lectures and social events, and is near the campus.

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