3 UA students from Middle Eastern countries decide to go home
Tuesday September 18, 2001
UAPD establishes tip line for anonymous reports of hate-crimes
Three students from Middle Eastern countries decided to return home, even though UA officials said the university and Muslim community attempted to assure their safety.
"The embassy gave them permission to return but the decision was theirs," said Sharon Kha, University of Arizona communications director.
UA President Peter Likins said it was unknown how much influence the students' embassies had on their decisions but he was not surprised their families were worried.
"In some cases, their embassy made the decision to bring them home; in other cases it was a personal and family decision," Likins said. "We know the vast majority of the university has focused their anger on the terrorists and not people of Islamic faith but when a crisis like this occurs, parents are going to worry and call their children home."
Likins said he is not surprised at the students' decisions but he hopes no others intend to leave.
Kha said although the university tried everything to make sure the campus is a safe and welcoming environment for all nationalities and religions, the community should support whatever they do.
Although no hate-crimes were reported during the weekend, UAPD officials said they remain skeptical.
"We heard through the grapevine around campus that there were individuals who had been harassed and didn't want to make a report with police," said UAPD Commander Brian Seastone.
UAPD officials said they encourage people to report all crimes immediately by dialing 911, but a new information line will be another method to relay information and concerns police.
"We would at least like to track these incidents - when and where they happened and perhaps follow up on them," Seastone said.
Since the anonymous line's activation yesterday morning until the afternoon, it received just one call.
Seastone said the anonymous tip line is open to both Tucson and the campus community. Officials said this number was created expressly for those who wish to report a hate crime committed against them.
Anyone at UA or in the Tucson area wishing to report a crime they feel was committed stemming from Tuesday's events should call 626-0066.