Dear Niner Nation,
We wanted to update you following our messages on Sept. 23 and Sept. 29 about a student being briefly placed in handcuffs following a 911 call in the Student Union. Upon investigation, the object the student was carrying was a kirpan, an article of faith in Sikhism.
Over the past several weeks, we have engaged in dialogue with representatives from the local and global Sikh communities about how we could modify University policies to honor the tenets of religious freedom while protecting the safety of our campus.
Effective immediately, we have adjusted our policy to reflect that kirpans will be permitted on campus provided that the blade length is less than three inches and the kirpan is worn close to the body in a sheath at all times. Requests for other religious accommodations (such as requests to wear longer kirpans) may be made to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. You may review the full policy here.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, with support from Institutional Integrity, also conducted additional awareness training this week with our police department and will continue its work to expand our cultural education and training opportunities for all of campus. We will keep you updated on future cultural education and training and ways to get involved through Niner Insider.
We want to express our appreciation to the Sikh leaders, especially the Sikh Coalition and the Global Sikh Council, who have taken time to share their perspective and expertise with us. We will continue to use this incident as an opportunity for learning and growth for our community.
Sharon L. Gaber
Brandon L. Wolfe
Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer