Lana Shehadeh 0

Demand an Official Statment by FAU Stating that Spitting on Students is Unacceptable

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On October 30th, 2007 FAU students and members of the community united to protest against the hateful and racist ideas of Daniel Pipes. The students conducted a silent protest and held banners that reflected the ideas they wanted to portray to the audience: signs read \"No to Racism, No to Xenophobic Speech\", \"Spread Love, Not Hate\" and \"Guilty \'Cause I\'m Muslim\" While standing quietly and respectfully with their banners, the students faced harassment by several members of Pipes\' audience who yelled \"Go back to your country\", \"It\'s not Halloween, take off that headscarf,\", and \"You don\'t belong here.\" One of the audience\'s members, an FAU employee, went so far as to spit on one of the young Muslim ladies outside, herself a student at FAU. The young lady was asked whether she wanted to press charges but declined because she did not want to be responsible for the employee\'s termination. It is astonishing that an FAU employee would have the audacity to spit on someone who was demonstrating for peace and understanding. On November 2, FAU released a statement outlining the results of a review conducted by the Division of Student Affairs. They stated that \"upon review, there were differing accounts regarding the reported intensity of the exchange.\" However, the Muslim student was not yet asked her account of the events at the time the statement was released, an account where she describes not an \"exchange\", but an unprovoked assault by the FAU employee. The statement went on to say that \"FAU will continue to strive to provide a safe environment for the free exchange of diverse schools of thought,\" completely overlooking the incident of hate that took place and how it affected the students who no longer feel that FAU does in fact provide this \"safe environment.\" The University, instead of taking a hard stance against this act of discrimination, chose to absolve itself of all responsibility of the incident. As a public institution, it should be common policy to have zero tolerance towards this sort of behavior, regardless if the employee was acting in an \"official capacity.\" The Muslim student and two others met with members of the administration on November 7 th, five days after the release of the public statement, to express there disappointment with the response of the University to this incident of hate. The students asked that the administration release another official statement condemning such conduct by the employee. They also asked that cultural tolerance training be available to the employees. The aim is for students to not feel that they are subjected to racism and cultural discrimination by the employees of FAU. The administration was less than enthusiastic over the suggestions, and would not commit to such a request. Over a week and a half have elapsed since the incident and nothing has been done on the part of the administration. As FAU students and members of our community, we believe in equal protection and the importance of establishing racial and cultural tolerance on campus. We are collecting signatures to present to FAU\'s President Frank Brogan when we meet with him this week in order to ask that FAU act according to its stated pride in its diversity.


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