Sikh students allowed to wear kirpan at US university

Wednesday 23rd November 2022 05:51 EST

New York: A prominent US university has announced that it would allow Sikh students to wear a kirpan on campus, a religious article in Sikhism. The change comes about two months after a video was posted online showing a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte was handcuffed for carrying the kirpan.

The university said that the school’s policy will allow students to wear kirpans on campus as long as the blade length is under 3 inches and is “worn close to the body in a sheath at all times”. The statement said the ruling was effective immediately.

“The office of diversity and inclusion also conducted additional awareness training this week with our police department and will continue its work to expand our cultural education and training opportunities for all of campus,” the statement said. The university also said other religious accommodations, including a request to wear a larger kirpan, can be made to the office of civil rights and evaluated on a case-by-case basis, it said.

“Over the past several weeks, we have engaged in dialogue with representatives from the local and global Sikh communities about how we could modify university policies to honour the tenets of religious freedom while protecting the safety of our campus,” the statement said. The university thanked Sikh leaders, including non-profit organisations The Sikh Coalition and the Global Sikh Council, who provided perspective to help with the policy change.

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