Hall: WSU to install floor basins, may be used as foot-washing stations
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Vice President for Student Affairs Teri Hall and Student Body Vice President Taben Azad engaged in a heated dialogue at Wednesday’s SGA meeting regarding the university’s decision to move forward with installing floor basins – which Muslim students could use as foot-washing stations – across campus.
In his officer report, Azad acknowledged his surprise that the administration approved the basins after denying SGA’s request in October to install foot-washing stations in the RSC.
Azad went on to question why the administration suddenly decided to change its stance, and after the meeting said Hall is trying to compensate for her alleged comments telling Muslim students to perform washing practices in a janitor’s closet.
“I’m grateful that we’re going to have the chance to see the proposal come to fruition to some extent, but where is that consistency?” Azad asked.
Hall denied that the decision to install basins across campus had any correlation to the 59th session’s proposal.
“The foot-washing stations that were proposed are not being put in this building,” Hall said of the RSC. “What we are going to do is get some multi-use kind of floor basins that are going to be placed in several places around campus for health and safety reasons.
“They’re not foot-washing stations and they can be used for a variety of things.”
Hall said the Muslim Student Association played a role in bringing the floor basins to campus, but that the basins themselves were not solely for the use of Muslim students.
“The (Muslim Student Association) has been a part of the discussion about the design and how that’s going to happen,” Hall said. “What we’re trying to do is find somebody that can install these in various places that will serve multiple needs as well as fit the needs of Muslim students.”
Hall did not elaborate on the function of the basins beyond foot-washing stations.
After the meeting, Student Body President Joseph Shepard suggested another reason for the administration’s reluctance to recognize the basins as foot-washing stations.
“They don’t want the public to know about these wash stations,” Shepard said. “They don’t want the donors to know because the donors don’t want it.”
Azad continued to insinuate that the administration had pivoted from the stance they took several months ago.
“In February we met and you said that there was no chance of this coming to campus,” Azad said.
Azad went on to ask Hall why she had put off meeting with him to discuss the issue since February.
Hall, who temporarily suspended Azad from his role as student body vice president in March, cited their contentious relationship as hindering their ability to work together productively.
“Taben, all the things you’ve put on Facebook, all the things you’ve continued to say about me — telling Muslim students they needed to wash their feet in buckets, which is an outright lie. I’m trying to work with Muslim students, which is critically important to me,” Hall said.
Azad rejected the notion that Hall should not have included him in the discussion to bring floor basins to campus.
“Even if there’s been tension, I don’t see why we haven’t been able to meet for me to get a response from you since February,” Azad said.
After the meeting, Azad elaborated on what he believed motivated Hall to downplay SGA’s role in bringing floor basins to campus.
“She’s trying to save herself because of the comments she made about the janitor’s closet and she wants to lie to the public about not saying those comments,” Azad said. “At this point, her reputation is something she is looking at more than she is serving Muslim students, so I can definitely see why she would be adamant about proving that this is something that she led instead of something that the 59th session led.”