Hamline University retracts 'Islamophobic' comment after lecturer files lawsuit



In October, Hamline Erika Lopez, an adjunct professor at her university, warned her students before showing her an old-fashioned image of a sacred figure created in the 14th century. Jen Ackerman

On Tuesday, Hamline University officials reversed their treatment of a lecturer who showed an image of the Prophet Muhammad in an art history class, retracting one of her most controversial statements.

University officials changed positions after an unemployed lecturer sued a small Minnesota school for religious discrimination and defamation.

“Like all organizations, sometimes they fail,” said Ellen Watters, chair of the university's board of trustees, and Fiennes S. Miller, president. "Words were used to listen to and support Muslim students that do not reflect our feelings about academic freedom.

The statement further added, "It was not our intention to suggest that academic freedom was of less interest or value than students. They coexist.

The controversy began in October. Adjunct professor Erika Lopez repeatedly warned her students before showing them time-honored images of holy figures created by many Muslims in the 14th century. images are regularly displayed in art history classrooms without issue. I am here.

Dr. Lopez Prater was told in the spring she would no longer teach an art history course after observant Muslim student Alam Wedatalla filed a complaint with the administration. An email sent by his senior administrator, David Everett, to students and faculty described the instructor's behavior as Islamophobic.

To attract applicants, many smaller universities have diversified their curricula to make them more welcoming to students who have historically been excluded from higher education.

Ms. Wedatalla praises her Hamline at St. Her Pole for taking her concerns as a Muslim student seriously. She could not immediately be reached for comment on her latest statement from her university.

The Minnesota District Court lawsuit states that Hamline's actions caused Dr. Lopez-Plater to lose income as his assistant, cause emotional distress, and damage his professional reputation and job prospects. . . Paddy fields. I am here.

In a statement, Dr. Lopez-Plater's attorney, David Rieden, was labeled Islamophobic for his actions and won her tenure for life after "her entire career." He said it would impair her ability.

Reden said the university's new stance would not affect the lawsuit.

The lawsuit added that Hamline treated Dr. Lopez-Plater negatively.

Dr. Lopez Prater has the right to exhibit her paintings without fear of losing her job.

But on Tuesday, her Campus Her Advocacy Director for FIRE, Alex Morley, said Everett's comments were legally protected speech because they expressed her own opinion.

Muslim groups are also divided on the Hamline controversy. Jelani Hussain, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on Islamic Relations in America, considers displaying this image to be Islamophobic.


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