A free women-only self-defense class scheduled for this Wednesday at Glendale Community College has been postponed to an undetermined date as the city attorney continues to review the legality of excluding men from the lessons.
The National Coalition for Men, a nonprofit organization based in San Diego, sent a complaint letter to city officials last month claiming two women-only self-defense classes planned for this month violate a host of federal and state civil rights laws, prompting the legal review.
FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this story stated the postponed class was going to be held at the Glendale Police Department. It was going to be held at GCC.
"The city attorney asked that we postpone the class while they continue their review," said city spokesman Tom Lorenz. "Upon legal review, if adjustments need to be made, we hope to bring it back as soon as possible."
The Commission on the Status of Women, which hosts the classes annually in honor of Glendale's Sexual Harassment Awareness Month, had scheduled a class this week and one on April 16. The popular classes reached capacity last month and city commissioners have been considering adding more in the future.
The self-defense training is paid for through commission fundraising, but offered on city property.
While the class this week has been postponed, the April 16 class remains scheduled for now.
"But as we review, things could change," Lorenz said.
Harry Crouch, executive director of the National Coalition for Men, said he was glad the city was actively reviewing the situation.
"I hope they'll come to the same conclusion we did, that the services should not be gender specific," Crouch said.
The coalition, which was founded in 1977, claims that barring men from the free self-defense training on city property violates equal-protection clauses of the state and federal constitution.
Simply advertising self-defense classes for only women, or for only men, may also violate anti-discrimination laws, just as if the city advertised a job opening for a police officer or librarian as being available to only male applicants, according to the coalition's letter.