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Wash station installed in RSC

The+newly+installed+washing+station+is+located+in+the+family+bathroom+on+the+north+side+of+the+RSC.
The newly installed washing station is located in the family bathroom on the north side of the RSC.

The newly installed washing station is located in the family bathroom on the north side of the RSC.

Evan Pflugradt

Evan Pflugradt

The newly installed washing station is located in the family bathroom on the north side of the RSC.

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After a series of roadblocks, the installation of a wash station that will provide Muslim students a place to wash their feet as part of ritual religious ablution in the Rhatigan Student Center was completed Wednesday. And the university wants to make it clear the station is open to all students for all purposes.

Vice President for Student Affairs Teri Hall said the wash stations could be used for a variety of purposes, which justified the allocation of RSC funds — which come from student fees — to pay for the installation.

“There were some folks that were concerned that we were doing something for one religion that wasn’t beneficial to everybody else,” Hall said. “That’s why I want us to be clear that these floor basins are helpful to everybody.

“They’re put in for all kinds of things, not just for foot washing,” Hall said. “They’re also good to rinse out coolers. There are times I’ve gotten flowers and it’s hard to fill a vase up in the bathroom.”

A sink on the floor and a foldable seat attached to the adjacent wall comprise the wash station, which is located in the first floor family restroom to allow students to wash their feet.

The project is the result of efforts between the Muslim Student Association, student government, and university administration.

The initiative to build a wash station on campus began last October when former SGA Vice President Taben Azad drafted a proposal which included a request for a wash station on campus, enhanced lighting and security cameras in the Grace Memorial Chapel, and signage identifying the chapel as an interfaith prayer space.

Hall said the new installation “remains a hot button around here.”

Hall said the installation of the sink came from conversations she had with the Muslim Student Association.

Zeeshan Khan, former president of the Muslim Student Association, said that his main concern was that Muslim students on campus would have a place to wash their feet as a part of ritual religious ablution.

He said he hopes that Muslim students will utilize the new installation. Wichita State has around 1,200 Muslim students.

“At the end of the day it was done for all the Muslim students on campus,” Khan said. “It’s done for their convenience.”

The student government proposal of a wash station was met with controversy. Student government was initially told that the university would not fund the project.

Tony Vizzini, senior vice president and provost, told KSN in October that the university would not pay for the installation of a wash station because doing so could be perceived as an expenditure for specific religious clientele.

Hall told The Sunflower in February that controversy and the political climate complicated the initiative.

“This is a pretty conservative state — a heavily Christian state,” Hall said to The Sunflower in February, which she said can make “these kind of initiatives more difficult.”

Hall announced during a student government meeting in April that the university would move forward with the installation of a wash station after the proposal was initially rejected in October.

Student Body President Paige Hungate, who credited Azad for the initial proposal, said the installation of a wash station would be a good thing for students.

“Our students will be able to practice their faith in a good way and be able to do it safely,” Hungate said.

16 Comments

16 Responses to “Wash station installed in RSC”

  1. Taben Azad on July 14th, 2017 12:03 pm

    Just want to clarify that I did draft the proposal alone. Please also recognize Joseph Shepard, Katie Deutsch and Christine Schneikart-Luebbe for helping with drafting the proposal and also Dr. Marche Flemming Randle, and Kevin Konda for their work on the Chapel committee last year.

    [Reply]

  2. L.M. on July 14th, 2017 5:45 pm

    My only objection is the location.
    Students who need to be lifted from a wheelchair to use the restroom already have enough challenges and having to wait in a longer line is discouraging. We haven’t seen this installation yet and don’t know if there is still enough space left for wheelchair maneuvering in that restroom.
    I don’t have any problem with people practicing their religion.
    If someone would like to explain the feet washing ritual in these comments, I’d be interested in learning about that. (That’s a sincere question.)

    [Reply]

    Taben Azad Reply:

    Hey L.M.!

    I’m glad to see your question. I know that a large part of the conversation that we had last summer with this proposal was ensuring that the wash station would be ADA compliant which to my knowledge it is. The “ritual” is mainly just washing one’s feet from the bottom to their ankle three times that would require the wash station because traditionally students would have to use the waist-level sinks and bring their feet up to the counter which was a safety concern of the committee assembled. Hope that helps a little!

    [Reply]

  3. L.M. on July 14th, 2017 6:13 pm

    Another issue with this location is the probability of having a wet floor (from feet washing, cooler rinsing and flower vase filling) in a restroom where attendants need to lift adults from a wheelchair to and from the toilet. That’s very dangerous! More thought should have gone into this decision.

    [Reply]

  4. Shocker Til Death on July 14th, 2017 8:58 pm

    The implication that this is a multi-use installation is pretty laughable. The University would never spend the money for students to wash out coolers or fill up flower vases. Stop the insane rationalizations. We see what it is. Yes, the University spent money for one group of students for a religious purpose.

    [Reply]

    Fake Pres. Bardo Reply:

    I forced the general student population to pay for a YMCA for students who have kids. I forced the students to pay more in athletics so the football, i mean so our basketball team can travel the country. I forced the students out of Fairmont so innovation campus can make a profit.

    -As always
    Fake Pres. Bardo

    [Reply]

  5. AAC! AAC! on July 15th, 2017 9:02 am

    The coolers must be for the football games and tailgating! Time to tweet a football helmet and band uniform!!

    [Reply]

  6. Mr. Smith on July 15th, 2017 11:06 pm

    Man, Taben is the definition of narcissism.

    [Reply]

    Other Reply:

    I think Taben meant to say he did “NOT” draft it alone and wanted the credit given to everyone involved. The narcissist market is cornered by someone else at WSU.

    [Reply]

  7. Senator 007 on July 16th, 2017 10:21 am

    Hey Great article! A couple questions.

    As per your article, you mentioned that the proposal was rejected in October and there were other items in that proposal such as lights and cameras.

    I only see that the wash stations have been installed but no lights, cameras, and signage.

    Just to clarify what work was being done and by who regarding the wash stations after it was rejected?

    Also, President Hungate commended Muslim Student Association for their hard work in her post on Facebook, was this something she mentioned in her interview?

    I feel like the students have a one sided story, if there were other students involved then that should be mentioned. Senators, members of MSA, and any other student who played a part.

    Seems like the same people are trying to take credit for everything or complaining about not getting any.

    Please clarify for me: @JennaFarhat

    [Reply]

  8. JusticeNeeded on July 17th, 2017 1:08 pm

    I’m an unbiased observer but it seems ex-VP Taben is trying to take the credit for something he had no part in conducting. My understanding is that current and former MSA students were the main parties involved and Taben came in like a hawk to take credit for this initiative. Is this how Wichita state conducts itself? I’m absolutely ashamed to see students in my school being ignored in order to promote established members. Disgusted.

    [Reply]

    your aveage white guy Reply:

    You should be ashamed. The presidents action team puts themselves ahead of students and education. This thing with the chapel caused a few donors of Wichita state to get very upset and they wanted Bardo and company to put a stop to it. Tabien was the scapegoat. The Presidents action team just doesn’t have enough integrity to do what is right and fair for the students.

    [Reply]

    JusticeGiven Reply:

    Zeeshan is that you again?

    [Reply]

  9. Fake Pres. Bardo on July 20th, 2017 4:51 pm

    Aw yes, the chapel. You students really work hard for that so hats off to you. I will continue to make decisions everywhere this school year, none of which you will like. Also please pray for our undefeated football team!

    As always spend all your money on campus or else innovation campus will fail
    -Fake Pres. Bardo

    [Reply]

    Fake VP Heldman Reply:

    What Fake Pres. Bardo meant to say is that he would not make decisions since those are now distributed and made everywhere by everyone in the new Research Institution model that he has declared WSU to be. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    [Reply]

  10. Taben Azad on July 21st, 2017 10:38 pm

    “Just want to clarify that I did draft the proposal alone. Please also recognize Joseph Shepard, Katie Deutsch and Christine Schneikart-Luebbe for helping with drafting the proposal and also Dr. Marche Flemming Randle, and Kevin Konda for their work on the Chapel committee last year.”

    That is embarrassing sorry! I meant to say that I did not* draft the proposal alone and that the other individuals listed above were critical in writing it as well. A mistake on my end, sorry!

    [Reply]

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