Emory Police Department (EPD) has concluded that a desecration in the ablution room at the Claudia Nance Rollins Building earlier this month was the result of a “medical emergency,” according to an April 16 University-wide email. The ablution room is designated for ritual washing for Muslims before prayer.
EPD responded to the scene after a faculty member, who was informed by a student, reported on April 4 that the ablution room had been desecrated. The student told police that when they entered the ablution room, they noticed “a strong odor of urine” and saw urine both on the floor and in the washtub. The complainant said the act appeared intentional.
After the officer met the complainant, they found that the ablution room had already been cleaned by a custodian when they entered; however, the officer was still able to smell the urine.
The officer met with another complainant who reported that they found fecal matter on top of “some garbage” in a nearby gender-neutral bathroom, which they believed was intentional, according to the EPD incident report. Both complainants said that they believed these two incidents were related.
One of the complainants told EPD that this type of incident is disruptive and disrespectful toward the Muslim student population on campus.
Tuesday’s email did not explain how someone could have accidentally desecrated two different locations.
Dean of Rollins School of Public Health James Curran sent a school-wide email on April 5 explaining that the room had been desecrated. In the email which was sent before EPD reached its conclusion, Curran and University President Claire E. Sterk condemned Islamophobia and the violation of the sacred space.
Senior Operations Manager for the Rollins School of Public Health Vanda Hudson declined an interview, directing the Wheel to Communications Manager for the Rollins School of Public Health Kelly Jordan. Jordan wrote in an April 16 email that the Rollins School of Public Health is working with Isam Vaid, Muslim adviser to the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life, to support those affected by the incident.
According to an April 16 University-wide email, a rededication prayer for the room will be administered early next week.