On Friday October 22, as Powell Library’s bell counted twelve, students from various backgrounds gathered on the grassy lawn of Meyerhoff Park to protest the freeze on the Islamic Studies program at UCLA.
In the past couple of weeks, the student-initiated campaign to re-open the Islamic Studies program had been gathering signatures, rain and shine, around campus and beyond. On Friday, the students gathered once again to raise awareness on campus. During the rally alone, they were able to gather approximately 250 signatures, making it a total of 3,025.
Demonstration for Representation:
“UCLA should not only re-open its Islamic Studies programs (MA; PhD) asap but also invest in them,” wrote a petition signatory.
Students gathered for the second demonstration at 2 p.m. to march to Murphy Hall, where members of the Academic Senate’s Graduate Council were meeting to discuss the Islamic Studies program. Koutaiba Chihabi, a 3rd year Neuroscience maj or, explains the p urpose of the demonstration: “We demand not only lifting the admissions freeze for the year but also to fund the dying program. We also demand student representation in the program and to begin the process of departmentalization for the undergraduate program.”
Four student representatives went in to meet with the administrators while the rest of the students continued to demonstrate outside Murphy Hall. The representatives were able to meet with Steve Nelson, Chair of the UCLA Graduate Council and an Associate Professor of African and African American Art History, who guaranteed that the Islamic Studies program will be re-opening. Though the administrators were unwilling to comment on having student representation in the Islamic Studies program when it does re-open, the student representatives assured the administrators they spoke with that they will be meeting again in the near future.
To follow UCLA’s Islamic Studies campaign, visit their website at http://uclaislamicstudies.com/