Charlotte, North Carolina/Chandigarh Sep 28, 2022
A Sikh student on the campus of University of North Carolina Charlotte had to face harassment last week. He was handcuffed and detained merely for wearing a kirpan — a Sikh article of faith.
Such mistreatment of a Sikh student and gross ignorance displayed by the 76-year-old university about Sikhism shocked the Sikh community around the world. Sikhs have been part of the American social fabric for over a century. People on social media questioned the lack of understanding about Sikhism at the university, known for taking pride in its diversity.
UNITED SIKHS applauded the quick response from the university — as Chancellor Dr. Sharon L. Gaber issued an apology on the university website. We had written to the Dean of Students, Dr. Christine Reed Davis, seeking an apology for the misconduct that had taken place with Aman Singh. The apology from the Chancellor stated that they will use the incident “as a learning opportunity by engaging in constructive dialogue with Sikh students and employees”. It also stated that they “apologize”, that the student didn’t feel “welcomed, supported and safe” that day, as they wanted every student to feel so, further adding that they are “committed to ensuring it doesn’t happen again.”
UNITED SIKHS shared with them a Sikhism Fact Sheet. We also offered to provide sensitivity-training to the university staff and security, about Sikhism and Sikh articles of faith.
“Despite curt behavior by the police on the campus, Aman Singh was graceful, resilient and showed leadership — everyone should practice their faith freely and fearlessly,” Manvinder Singh, UNITED SIKHS Advocacy Director said.
“All institutions, particularly, universities that attract students and staff from around the world must have a mandate to sensitize students and staff about Sikhism and other world religions, cultures and traditions. It is essential to create a culture of co-existence to prevent incidents of racism and misconduct with students and members of any community,” he stated.
We appreciate the efforts of Sikh organizations around the world for raising their voice in this case and lending support to Aman Singh.
Everyone should be able to practice their faith freely and without fear. If you face harassment and discrimination because of your faith, please write to us.
University of North Carolina Charlotte apologizes; UNITED SIKHS offers to train staff and campus security on Sikhism
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