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ASU Students Face Discipline For Harrassing Peers They Deemed White, Cisgender Males in ‘Their’ Multicultural Space

November 20, 2021

By Corinne Murdock |

The three young activist students at Arizona State University (ASU) who verbally accosted and harassed two peers for being white, cisgender males in “their” multicultural space may face disciplinary action for violating ASU’s Code of Conduct.

Mastaani Qureshi, Sarra Tekola, and Miriam “Mimi” Araya were identified as the women verbally accosting their peers. AZ Free News discovered that, at the time of the incident, the space hadn’t been officially established as a multicultural center – something that the three women attested to in a subsequent interview and statement about the incident. 

According to reporting from State Press, Qureshi, Tekola, and Araya did violate ASU’s Code of Conduct. Specifics of those charges were revealed in an email obtained by Campus Reform – the three female students were charged with violating two policies related to disruption and stalking or harassing:

· 5-308 F-11: Interfering with or disrupting university or university-sponsored activities, including but not limited to classroom related activities, studying, teaching, research, intellectual or creative endeavor, administration, service or the provision of communication, computing or emergency services.

· 5-308 F-20: Stalking or engaging in repeated or significant behavior toward another individual, whether in person, in writing, or through electronic means, after having been asked to stop, or doing so to such a degree that a reasonable person, subject to such contact, would regard the contact as unwanted.

Additionally, one of the students (likely Tekola, because she was the only one of the three students arrested in relation to 2020 protests) was charged with an additional Code of Conduct violation:

· 5-308 F-26: Commission of any offense prohibited by state or federal law or local ordinance.

That email relaying the specific charges came from religious studies associate professor Leah Sarat. She urged her colleagues to sign an internal letter asking ASU to drop the Code of Conduct charges because they affected “one of their own.” Sarat was likely referring to Qureshi, a history and justice studies undergraduate, who also served as the alum liaison for the leadership sorority Omega Phi Alpha and co-president of ASU’s Women’s Coalition.

Both Araya and Tekola were graduate students. Araya, a Black Lives Matter (BLM) Phoenix policy minister, served as vice president of ASU’s Black Graduate Student Association, and was working toward her doctorate in justice studies in the School of Social Transformation. Tekola was the co-minister of activism for Black Lives Matter (BLM) Phoenix Metro and a PhD Candidate in ASU’s School of Sustainability.

In the request letter, Sarat also accused the two male students of promoting systemic racism for their attire and lunch choices. The two male students were, according to Sarat, “racist” for displaying a “Did Not Vote For Biden” t-shirt, Chik-fil-A cups, and a “Police Lives Matter” sticker.

“We consider it shameful and cruel that instead of protecting students who are clearly vulnerable and being targeted, the university is siding with white natoinalist media and downplaying the incident as an isolated disagreement between students,” asserted Sarat. “To be clear, this is a moment when colorblind language and emphasis on equivalence actually fosters systemic inequality by targeting and disciplining BIPOC students.”

Qureshi, Tekola, and Araya are reportedly being represented by The People’s Law Firm.

The ASU Dean of Students may determine sanctions for Code of Conduct violations. If a disciplinary sanction is imposed, the students may appeal for a hearing before a University Hearing Board. Based on the board’s assessment, the Senior Vice President for Educational Outreach and Student Services will then make a final decision on sanctions.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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