Strolling into the library of Vancouver Island College (VIU) in Nanaimo at all times felt like a secure place for Sara and Zena Kishawi, till now.

The sisters say they have been the victims of ‘racial profiling’ by a safety guard.

“Humiliating, dehumanizing sooner or later. We have been shocked. Why are you trying in our bag, solely us?” Sara advised CHEK Information Wednesday.

“I see this second occur, and I’m like, ‘Okay, what was that?’ It was so surprising. Does that not go in opposition to all of the morals of this college,” stated Zena, a VIU biology scholar.

It occurred on March 7 on the library’s fifth flooring throughout a heated VIU senate assembly. Contributors have been discussing controversial program cuts.

Sara, a fourth-year sociology scholar, and her sister Zena have been seated at a desk with two different members of the VIU Muslim Girls’s Membership when a pal dropped off a bag containing a button maker for upcoming rallies and left.

Inside minutes, the scholars stated a safety guard approached the bag and commenced trying into it.

“We have been bowled over, so I requested, ‘Excuse me, why are you trying in our bag?’ And he stated, ‘Oh, there was a priority reported with the bag,’” stated Sara.

“I by no means anticipated it to occur right here, at a better schooling establishment,” stated Zena.

The group recorded their interplay with the safety guard and posted it on social media, the place a flood of feedback adopted.

“20+ folks gathered in a room with backpacks, and the one folks whose baggage bought checked are the hijabi ladies who weren’t even concerned within the crowd,” wrote one commenter.

“@VIU so you’re racially profiling college students with out consent after which performing confused,” wrote one other.

In a letter to the Muslim Girls’s Membership after the incident, VIU president Deborah Saucier said that the explanation for the search was “A VIU worker noticed a person described as a white male carrying a N95 masks, go away a bag on a desk and go away the realm. An worker expressed concern a couple of suspicious unattended bag to a senior worker who walked over to look at the bag in query.”

Saucier continued, “Neither worker concerned have been conscious that the bag had been dropped off on your group by a pal.”

Saucier has apologized for the incident, however the VIU Muslim Girls’s Membership isn’t glad that it gained’t occur once more.

“There was no method it was an unattended bag, with 4 of us sitting round it,” added Sara.

The ladies’s membership is internet hosting a protest in entrance of VIU’s library at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.


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