The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) has altered its policies to allow Sikh students to wear a kirpan — a sheathed dagger that serves as a religious article — on campus.
In an announcement on Thursday, Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber said students are permitted to carry a kirpan as long as its blade is less than 3 inches (approximately 7.62 centimeters) in length and “is worn close to the body in a sheath at all times.”
Meanwhile, requests for other religious accommodations — including longer kirpans — will be processed by the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX and “will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”
I wasn’t going to post this, but I don’t think I will receive any support from @unccharlotte . I was told someone called 911 and reported me, and I got cuffed for “resisting” because I refused to let the officer take my kirpan out of the miyaan. @CLTNinerNews pic.twitter.com/Vk9b0Tspvm
— امآن وڑائچ (@thatsamaan) September 23, 2022
“You can’t take it off me. You want me to take the whole thing off?” the student asks a deputy in a now-viral video. “What are you doing to me, bro?”
The incident quickly sparked outrage on social media and forced university administrators to hold discussions with its Sikh community.
“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 honor the tenets of religious freedom while protecting the safety of our campus,” Gaber said on Thursday. “We want to express our appreciation to the Sikh leaders, especially the Sikh Coalition and the Global Sikh Council, who have taken time to share their perspective and expertise with us.”
Aside from officially allowing kirpans on campus, UNCC also conducted additional awareness training last week with its police department to “expand our cultural education and training opportunities for all of campus.”