SHAFAQNA- The University of California, Riverside, professors and students are holding a forum to counter Islamophobia, where they will discuss recent anti-Muslim vandalism on campus.
Sometime during spring break, vandals defaced photos of women students and tore down an image of a Palestinian flag in the Ethnic Studies Department and graduate student offices.
The forum, dubbed, Countering Islamophobia: Anti-racist responses to violence on campus, will be held at 12 p.m. Monday, April 11.
Campus police are investigating the vandalism incidents as possible hate crimes.
As of Thursday, April 7, the investigation was ongoing, said UCR Assistant Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications James Grant.
The Department of Ethnic Studies and graduate student offices were likely vandalized during the holiday period – March 21-25, according to a March 30 Facebook post signed by Dylan Rodríguez, chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department.
UC Riverside police began investigating the vandalism when it was reported March 28, after spring break.
In his post on the UC Riverside Media and Cultural Studies Department Facebook page, Rodríguez said biographies and photos of at least four female graduate students were either stolen or defaced. The post described them as “women of color.”
A bookcase and graduate student mailboxes were also tampered with or rummaged through. And, materials related to Palestine, including an image of the Palestinian flag, were torn from the wall, the post said.
The UC Riverside Media and Cultural Studies Department Facebook Page released a statement Thursday announcing the forum.
“Recent incidents of vandalism on UCR’s campus, which targeted Arab professors and students, women faculty and students of color, and Palestine solidarity activists, are part of a larger pattern of attacks of this nature that have been occurring with increasing frequency nationwide,” the statement read.
A panel of speakers will address these issues and explore ways to counter violence on campus “by collective action,” according to the statement.
The Departments of Creative Writing, English, Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Media and Cultural Studies, and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies are co-sponsoring the event, which is part of a series on Islamophobia.