College Bans Face Covering

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This is bound to get, well, interesting. From an article in the Boston Globe comes news that:

The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has established a policy banning people from covering their faces on its three campuses, in an effort to ensure public safety, a college spokesman said today.

Almost immediately, the Council on American-Islamic Relations protested, sending a letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stating that, because the colleges allows a medical exemption, it should also be required to allow a religious exemption to the policy.

A spokesman for the council, Ibrahim Hooper, said, “It’s a very strange policy. I don’t know where it came from. The only thing we can conclude is that it’s designed to specifically target Muslims.” Hopper added that he knew of no other school in the United States of America with such a policy.

According to the article, the college spokesman, Michael Ratty “found two people who would be affected by the ban, officials had met with them, and they had agreed to comply with it.”

The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has 4,300 students. If only two people are affected by the ban one wonders why the college needs a policy at all. Wouldn’t the two covered students be relatively easy to identify?

UPDATE: On January 8 the college reversed its ban in veils, and will now allow students to wear face-obscuring coverings for religious/cultural reasons.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer