According to a new article from The New York Times, Hamline University President Fayneese Miller sacked lecturer, Erika López Prater, for prioritizing academic freedom over the respect of Muslim students.
In a letter to students, Miller apologized for the event and stressed the importance of avoiding insulting the school’s Muslim students.
Miller said that respect for the observant Muslim students in the class should have trumped academic freedom in the classroom event in which a forbidden picture was exhibited on a screen for several minutes.
According to the New York Times, the lecturer told students they will encounter religious icons including the Prophet Muhammad and the Buddha.
Erika López Prater, 42, allegedly offered students a warning prior to showing the painting, allowing them another opportunity to leave the room if they did not feel comfortable viewing it.
Despite the cautions, Aram Wedatalla, a senior Muslim in the class, was caught off guard by the image.
Wedatalla stated in an interview with the school newspaper, “I’m like, “This can’t be true.”
The student said, “As a Muslim and a black woman, I don’t feel like I belong, and I don’t think I’ll ever belong in a community where they don’t value me as a member, and don’t show the same respect that I show them,”