Guest Column: A letter to the El Camino community

Editor’s Note: Students, employees and other members of the El Camino College community outside the journalism staff are also invited to submit guest columns for consideration as per The Union’s policy. All columns are subject to editing for length, grammar and style. They must be free of libel and in good taste. Publication or rejection of any column is at the sole discretion of the editorial board. 

Dear El Camino College,

The Muslim Student Association (MSA) is writing to draw attention to a problem that has been affecting Muslim students on campus.

The Muslim Student Association recently arranged the Eid-Al Fitr celebration, which was attended by approximately 6,000 Muslim community members. However, various obstacles arose throughout the event’s organization and implementation, raising a wider question: How does El Camino College serve its Muslim students?

As representatives of the Muslim community on campus, we believe it is important to bring to your attention the lack of support we have experienced. From the absence of Halal food alternatives on campus to the disrespect shown towards our holiest months and holidays. 

It is clear there is a lack of institutional support for our community.

The current “prayer room” we have access to is inadequate and insufficient for our needs. It is often used as a joint for non-Muslims to smoke in, which shows a lack of respect for our community.

While discussions regarding renovations took place, plans to build a genuine prayer room were never accepted. 

Furthermore, when we have asked for institutional backing or a support group that represents our specific demographic identities, we were often met with resistance and asked to justify our “struggle” as a community and are forced to provide research.

We understand El Camino’s mission statement highlights the importance of equity, respect and support for diverse communities. However, as representatives of the Muslim community on campus, we do not feel heard or supported. Instead, we are excluded from the “inclusion.”

We believe this issue can be resolved by providing diversity training to teachers and staff and developing a campus culture that embraces and celebrates diversity. 

El Camino College ultimately must accept responsibility for the mistreatment and lack of assistance experienced by Muslim students on campus. They must commit to creating an inclusive and supportive atmosphere for all students, regardless of their race, ethnicity or religion. 

Only then can we hope to build a truly varied and equal system of higher education.

We initially wrote this letter out of anger and frustration. Ultimately, we realized our goal is not to stir chaos, but to start productive conversations about the treatment of Muslim students.

We are calling for the improvement of campus climate for future Muslim students so they can freely practice their faith and further their education. We ask that our concerns be taken seriously and that we can work together to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all students.