Crisis Support from University Administrations

During this time of increased Islamophobia, we believe it necessary for university administrations to provide crisis support to Muslim students on campus. The following are suggestions from The Islamophobia Working Group at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor for administrators to help create more inclusive and safer environments for students:

  1. “Create a bias reporting system to help track incidents of bias against students”, including, but not limited to, Muslim, Latino, Black, and other minority groups. This system should be transparent in providing the student with information on where his/her report is within the process, and should also provide anonymity if the student desires.
  2. “Create or improve the Safe Ride Service: Muslim female students, particularly those who wear the hijab (headscarf), feel especially vulnerable to profiling and harassment when moving about campus, particularly at night ”. While a Safe Ride Service would inevitably help all students on campus, it is particularly important to ensure that wait times are short and that stops are safe and amply-lit for students as they wait for the services.
  3. “Create a hate mail policy: Given the frequency in which students have received hateful emails and Facebook posts, students would like to understand whether or not the university policy includes one on email harassment and hate rhetoric sent from university email accounts. If no such policy exists, we suggest creating one to protect students from harassment and hate mail and providing a means of reporting and dealing with breaches of that policy .”
  4. “Provide administrative support during crisis situations: During crisis situations, students need their administrations to communicate with faculty on behalf of students to request feasible academic deadline extensions and other academic accommodations to support them during times of increased distress due to harassment or being targeted as the result of the political climate on campus.”
  5. “Send out campus-wide communications during times of crisis: We encourage targeted communications during times of crisis that highlight an increase in Islamophobia, that emphasize that Muslims are an important part of our campus community, and that discrimination is not tolerated on our campus. We also suggest considering drafting a communication modeled after the U.S. Department of Education’s “Dear Colleague” letters. After the Paris terrorist attacks and San Bernardino shootings, the Department of Education issued a letter to urge schools to take measures to ensure that Muslim, Arab and refugee students are free from harassment. Official communications as such have the potential to shape a more inclusive campus environment.”