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19 Jan

Muslim College Student Reports Sexual Harassment……Expelled by Connecticut’s University of Bridgeport

Muslim College Student Reports Sexual Harassment, Gets Reported To FBI For Terrorism And Expelled

By Tanya
Somanader
posted from ThinkProgress
Security
on Jan 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm

In 2008, African-American Muslim student Balayla Ahmad enrolled in
Connecticut’s University of Bridgeport with hopes of becoming a
chiropractor. Instead, she became of a victim of sexual harassment.
Distressed by the repeated sexual advances and “graphic offensive
comments” of a male student, Ahmad reported the harassment and
“fears for her safety” to multiple teachers, who urged her to say
nothing, and finally the university’s president and dean. The dean
told Ahmad, “My hands are tied. What do you suggest I do?”

Rather than having her claims addressed, Ahmad received
allegations of her own. Learning of her report, Ahmad’s harasser
decided to falsely accuse her of terrorism to the FBI. And rather
than fully investigate what was happening, the University of
Bridgeport just expelled
Ahmad
altogether:

After reporting the sexual harassment in April 2009,
Ahmad said she was approached by two university security directors
who told her someone had made allegations against her and they
threatened to call the FBI and have her arrested.

Later, two FBI agents knocked on Ahmad’s
apartment door, questioned her and left a business card, according to
the lawsuit. She said she learned that her harasser or his associates
had fabricated a story falsely accusing her of being a terrorist in
apparent retaliation for having made a sexual harassment complaint
against him.

“Ahmad was racially profiled and discriminated against
because of her race, color and ethnic identity as an African American
Muslim and labeled a terrorist based on false accusations provided by
the harasser and adopted without adequate investigation by the
university,” the lawsuit states.

Ahmad asked that the university provide her with
an off-site proctor for her exams, but she said the university told
her in April 2009 that her sexual harassment complaint had been
closed and that she was being referred to a disciplinary committee.
In June, she said the university dismissed her.

Ahmad filed a lawsuit against the university last week for failing
to investigate her claims, instead showing “deliberate
indifference” to her plight. The lawsuit claims that the college
even “recklessly disseminated false accusations by the harasser
that they had good reason to believe were unreliable and threatened
her with arrest by the FBI.”

Ahmad’s lawyer, Bradford Conover noted that because Ahmad
regularly wears the hijab, she was easily targeted for her religion.
“[B]ecause of that, she ended up getting targeted based on some
reckless accusations against her,” Conover said. “They never
investigated it. Had they done so, they would have discovered the
accusations against her were false and she had been subject to sexual
harassment.”

 

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