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Muslim Student Association at ASU sends letter of criticism to President Crow

The letter from MSA at ASU called for increased University support of Muslim and Arab students


ASU President Michael Crow during an ABOR meeting in the Memorial Union on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 in Tempe. Illustrative news release added on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024.

The Muslim Student Association at Arizona State University sent a letter on their Instagram page on Feb. 13 to ASU President Michael Crow calling for more support for Muslim students on campus. 

The letter called for ASU to "make a statement clarifying (its) position and to reaffirm the school's unwavering commitment to fostering an environment that upholds values of equality, fairness and respect for students of all backgrounds and lived experiences."

The letter was mailed to Crow's office and co-signed by many other student organizations on campus, including Students for Justice in Palestine at ASU and Young Democratic Socialists of America at ASU.

The statement responds to Crow's public support of Israel and Islamophobic incidents that have been reported to MSA at ASU.

READ MORE: Michael Crow discusses University's support of Israel, student-athlete pay, ethics development

According to a representative from MSA at ASU, there have been multiple Islamophobic occurrences where students have verbally attacked Muslim or Arab students. MSA at ASU has also reported an event where an ASU professor used negative language against a Muslim woman. 

The MSA at ASU representative said ASU's statement regarding the ongoing conflict in the Israel-Palestine region isolates Muslim and Arab students. They said the statement not only painted them in a negative light, but also did not allow them to properly grieve the family members they have lost in the war.

READ MORE: ASU joins 14 academic institutions in collective support of Israel

The letter from MSA at ASU reads, "(ASU) also fails to acknowledge the vast majority of the overall deaths, which have occurred on the Palestinian side, which has further alienated the Arab and Muslim students, many of whom have lost family."

They said many students have had to deal with the stress of losing family members in Palestine, according to the MSA at ASU representative. 

"A lot of people that I know personally in the MSA, their families are caught in the crossfire," the representative said. They also condemned President Crow's "one-sided" support for Israel. 

"If you're going to acknowledge the ongoing crisis, be fair and acknowledge both sides — don't take a clearly biased approach in your language because that creates a really bad environment for a lot of people on campus," they said.

They said that the organization is a non-partisan group and wants to be clear that anyone is welcome. They said they "only want peace," which is why the group would be willing to sit down with Crow to cooperate and come up with a joint solution.

"Our goal is to create a safe environment for our students and any Muslims on campus in general," the representative said. "We would love to have an open discussion about how, as Muslims and as people of Arab ethnicity, we can feel safe walking around campus."

Bryce Askew, the vice chair of YDSA at ASU who co-signed the letter to Crow, said that peace and safety are what YDSA has in mind for the betterment of ASU's community.

"No matter how much the University tells us that they hear us and that they see us, we don't feel seen or heard and we feel like we're being dismissed and not taken seriously," Askew said. "We're still going to keep trying to push the University in the right direction and to create a safer environment for people here, regardless of whether the University wants to support that or not."

Crow has not issued a formal public statement in response to the letter from MSA at ASU.

"ASU respects and protects the right to free speech, and supports a safe environment for people on all sides of an issue to peacefully express their opinions and to be heard," said an ASU spokesperson in an emailed statement to The State Press. 

Edited by Alysa Horton, Sadie Buggle and Shane Brennan

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