SHAFAQNA-UC Riverside police are still investigating anti-Muslim incidents at the university’s Department of Ethnic Studies that appeared to have happened over spring break.
UCR Assistant Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications James Grant on Tuesday, April 5, said the investigation was still open. The incidents are being investigated as hate crimes.
Vandals defaced photos of women students, tore down and image of a Palestinian flag, and rummaged through student mailboxes,� according to a March 30 Facebook� post signed by Dylan Rodríguez, chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department.
“Women of color have been specifically targeted by these parties, and the available information makes it abundantly clear that these acts of violence are significantly motivated by anti-Muslim and Islamophobic sentiment and/or ideology,” Rodríguez said in the post.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles, encouraged the university administration and student groups to organize forums to discuss and challenge the growing climate of Islamophobia.
“A strong message of condemnation by university officials, followed by expressions of solidarity with the targeted communities can send a strong message that campuses refuse to normalize bigotry and hate,” Ayloush said in a statement.
UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, sent a campus-wide e-mail Thursday, March 31, condemning the vandalism, according to Grant.
The Wilcox statement said UCR was committed “to a campus environment based on equity and mutual respect.”
“Any time a member of our community is threatened, it is an affront to our entire campus. Our entire mission is predicated on creating a diverse and accepting campus,” Wilcox said. “These incidents are being vigorously investigated, and we will fully prosecute those responsible.”