UW-Bothell chancellor discloses 'abhorrent' incident where several men harassed Muslim women on campus

BOTHELL, Wash. -- Officials at the University of Washington Bothell are investigating a possible hate crime in which a group of men approached Muslim women on campus and demanded that they remove their hijabs.

This incident follows several other reports of harassment at the college.

Campus Safety is looking into each incident and on Tuesday, the chancellor sent a letter to the community saying the school will not tolerate this kind of behavior. It asking any students to report any kind of harassment.

“We wanted to be very clear even if we don’t have all the specifics of the incident we would not be putting up with such things. This is not what UW Bothell stands for,” said Phil Akers, the Vice Chancellor at the UW Bothell.

The University of Washington at Bothell is investigating reports that several Muslim women students were harassed by several men on campus the day after the election.

While details of exactly what happened aren’t clear, word of what happened is spreading.

“A couple of women walking in the garage were confronted by Trump supporters that said and coerced them into taking off their hijabs because they said that it no longer exists here,” said Umar Shah, a member of the student government on campus.

Shah is also involved in several student groups and said after that incident another Muslim woman was harassed this week.

“’We heard she was chased in the garage and her tires were slashed,” added Shah.

“I want campus to be a safe place for all to be here so if it’s not a safe place something should be done,” said Scott Molvar, a student at UW Bothell.

Students are coming together to stand up against any hate on campus. A sign posted on the third floor window of a building reads “I stand with our Muslim students.”

Students are also writing notes of support on Post-it Notes, sticking them to a campus building window.

“Our students represent society and we want to make sure they all feel comfortable,” added Akers.

Other students said they weren’t too surprised to hear what had happened.

“At the same time we need to respect everyone, respect one another,” said Mary Moyer, a student at UW Bothell.

The university is creating a bias response form students can fill out, if they’ve been a victim or a witness to a bias crime.

On Wednesday afternoon students had planned a rally against those types of crimes, and to support one another on campus.

In a message to the community on Tuesday, UW-Bothell Chancellor Wolf Yeigh wrote, "I recently learned that several of our Muslim women students were approached by several men, who then demanded that the women remove their hijabs. This intrusion took place on our campus.

"Let me be clear. This type of behavior is abhorrent and will not be tolerated at UW Bothell. This is not only a violation of the women’s right to practice their faith, it is also a clear violation of our values at UW Bothell. In addition, such an act may be potentially a criminal assault, and a hate crime. This is a serious offense.

"We will not tolerate this kind of behavior. You should not tolerate it either. If you see it, or experience it, report it. Tell someone—a friend, a faculty member, Safe Campus, or Campus Safety, so that we can aggressively follow up. UW Bothell is in the process of creating a bias response form for anyone on campus who has experienced, or been a witness to, an incident of bias or discrimination. This form will be available to the campus community within the next few days.

"We will work to ensure this community lives up to our commitment to being an open, inclusive, welcoming and safe campus."