Letter: Selective protection

The common sense reaction after reading “SJT signs controversial letter” in the Oct. 10 issue of the Hatchet (p.2) would be “what about everyone else?”

The college and university presidents’ statement on intimidation-free campuses is an important and much needed issue of protection, and it seems fair up until the third paragraph. The fact that our own University president has signed to “maintain academic standards in the classroom and . sustain an intimidation-free campus” should make us all feel safe. However, the statement implies that in the past few months it is only “students who are Jewish or supporters of Israel’s right to exist” who have feared for their lives because of their beliefs.

It is both unfortunate and scary that such intimidation must exist on campus, and the steps taken toward protecting them is understandable. It is true that students can be harassed because of their dress, and the steps taken toward protecting them is also understandable. It is further true that students can be harassed because of their views or beliefs. But why issue a statement that limits the protection to a group of students with only one view? After being subject to violence and harassment on and off campus, have Muslim students not yet deserved to be a part of these university presidents’ protection program?

A couple examples were given in Thursday’s article giving reason to the fear and intimidation Jewish students were subject to. Some equally violent and intimidating events occurred toward Muslims and even those who “look” Muslim.

Within the past year, mosques have been vandalized, Muslims have been killed, the homes of Muslim leaders raided and dozens of other horrific and undemocratic actions have been taken by both civilians and government officials to curtail civil liberties. There have been countless documented verbal and physical attacks on Muslim and Arab students on campuses throughout the country.

Muslim and Arab students have equally valid reasons to feel intimidated. President Trachtenberg defends his signature, admitting, “It’s important to point out that while this ad focuses on Jews, it is equally important to protect the rights of any other religion.” If so, then why leave them out? In order to portray a more realistic picture on college campuses throughout the United States, another statement must be issued – this time including everyone.

-Maryam Syed Sarrafee

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