Sharon L. Gaber, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has apologized to a Sikh student for the way he was treated by campus police. The student was placed in handcuffs while police officers removed from his person a kirpan, a knife that observant Sikhs are required to have on their bodies at all times. It is held by a strap. When the student posted about his experience online, including a video, many Sikh organizations expressed outrage.
Gaber’s apology said, “State law and university policy prohibit the possession of a knife or other edged instruments on campus, but we will use this as a learning opportunity by engaging in constructive dialogue with Sikh students and employees. Together, we are confident we can find reasonable measures and educational opportunities that both protect the safety of our campus and the religious practices of our community members. Our diversity makes us a better, richer, more successful community. We want every Niner to feel welcomed, supported and safe. We apologize that is not what this young man felt in our union yesterday. We are committed to ensuring it doesn’t happen again.”