John Burke of Towson took issue with the policy of instituting women only swim times at pools in Columbia ("Female-only swim sessions go too far to accommodate Muslims," Nov. 17). Unfortunately Mr. Burke is not familiar with Columbia and the role of the Columbia Association. Pools in Columbia are not public pools. They are owned and maintained by the Columbia Association, which operates recreational and community facilities in Columbia. Homeowners and residents of Columbia pay annual fees to be members of the Columbia Association and entitled to use the facilities maintained by CA. It is wholly within the authority of the association to set rules setting aside times and areas of those facilities to be used only by certain groups.
I also would like to point out that it is not only Muslim women who prefer to use recreational facilities that are in themselves available only to women. Two of the CA-maintained gyms have areas set aside only for women so they do not have to compete with men for time on the equipment.
There are plenty of times available at all CA facilities for the use of men and children as well as those women who prefer recreation in a coed environment. There are public facilities elsewhere in Howard County that may not set aside times for certain groups.
Mary Louise Spurrier, ColumbiaCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun