Muslim student claims sexual harrassment, school ignores, she's falsely reported as a terrorist, FBI shows up at her door

Balayla Ahmad, an observant African-American Muslim student at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, has filed a federal lawsuit claiming she was sexually harassed by a male student in 2009 for months on end, but that university officials showed "deliberate indifference" to her repeated complaints—and that she was then reported to the FBI in revenge for having complained. From the Associated Press:

When she complained to a teacher, she was told that the university generally doesn't get rid of students right away over such incidents, the lawsuit said. Another teacher asked her if she were married and asked her not to report it to the dean because he would speak with the harasser, the suit said.

Ahmad then reported the harassment and fears for her safety to the university's president and dean, who promised to meet with her. But she said when she met with the dean, he said, "My hands are tied. What do you suggest I do?"

After reporting the sexual harassment in April 2009, Ahmad said she was approached by two university security directors who told her someone had made allegations against her and they threatened to call the FBI and have her arrested.

Later, two FBI agents knocked on Ahmad's apartment door, questioned her and left a business card, according to the lawsuit. She said she learned that her harasser or his associates had fabricated a story falsely accusing her of being a terrorist in apparent retaliation for having made a sexual harassment complaint against him.

Muslim who claims harassment sues Conn. university (AP)

Update: A Boing Boing reader who once attended and lived near the University of Bridgeport points out that the school went bankrupt some decades ago, and was effectively bought out by an affiliate arm of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. The history's a little complicated; here's what looks to be a reasonably neutral Wikipedia article about that.


  1. Well then, now they’re equal, right?  He’s still in school without as much as a slap on the wrist and she was academically dismissed and now has an FBI file.  No, wait, that doesn’t sound fair…

    Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people?

    1. The weasel-word used by law enforcement here is “allegations,” which tells me it wasn’t a legal report or anything like that.

      1. Right, none this involved a court of law, just a “tipster” point of contact. I doubt there’ll ever be a followup.

    2. False report? Didn’t you read that she admits to being a practising Muslim? She is doubtless running some kind of covert cupcake bottling plant out of her apartment.

    3. As clichéd as it may be to say, I think it’s pretty clear that only applies if the person complained about is lilly white. Moreover, the FBI’s attitude towards Muslims as documented on this site seems to be suspicion without reason.

    4. That went out the window with ‘if you see something say something.’ Now ANYONE can make whatever ‘allegations’ they want. Anonymously. And they’re protected.

      I’m not a fan of this at all. It leads to denounciation lists. LONG ONES. 

      Factor this with the fact that the FBI (and USSS) must follow up on all ‘reports’ and ‘allegations’.. then it must be proven that the person doing the reporting did it with malice. Now you have something VERY HARD to prove.

      Police States SUCK. Maybe if more people wake up to the fact that we’ve been living in one for quite some time MAYBE this type of conduct will stop. Don’t hold your breath, tho’.

      1. They’re not protected at all for false claims….though tough to prove…but not protected criminally or from civil suits.

  2. My primary response is surprise that AP would base an entire article on the assertions of the plaintiff in an ongoing lawsuit.

  3. Well, technically, couldn’t the harasser have been terrified that he’d have to suffer legal consequences for his actions?

    See?  It’s obviously a case of terrorism.

  4. Wow! Replace the word sexual with “oil”, and the prick kid with “U.S.” and you have a metaphor.

    PS- this makes us the prick kid, btw. A friendly reminder for all of the would be revolutionaries out there.

  5. she complained to a teacher
    Another teacher asked her… not to report it to the dean
    Ahmad then reported… to the university’s president and dean
    two FBI agents knocked on Ahmad’s apartment door…
    accusing her of being a terrorist

    This is why you don’t bother with the people at your school. If somebody is threatening or assaulting you, try to get a name or a photo and a good description of the creep, phone the police and file a report with them. If any of his loser buddies want to get involved, report them to the police, as well.

    The people who work at your school are simply school administrators. Their job is to smooth things over and keep all their revenue streams enrolled, regardless of their behavior. If you want any chance of real help, you go to the police.

    1. It’s more complicated than that. The police would involve the campus cops with any investigation. In fact, they may refer the entire matter to the campus cops.

      From a cynic’s POV, sure, the uni administration is there to keep the tuition dollars flowing. But in this case, they had no problem dismissing the complainant. So much for the purely cynical take.

      From a legal standpoint, a university is expected to provide a safe learning environment, just as a business is expected to provide a safe working environment. That’s why universities and businesses have established sexual harassment policies–that, incidentally, don’t generally list “call the police” as the first step.

      1. The University of Bridgeport actually appears to have put its sexual harassment policy online,

        “Call the police” doesnt appear as any step, let alone the first one.

        Informal Process
        Any person who believes that he or she is being victimized by an offense as stated in the University of Bridgeport policy on Sexual Harassment is encouraged to seek resolution of the problem through discussion with the alleged offenders(s). If this does not resolve the matter, or there is a reluctance to deal directly with the alleged violator(s), the problem should be brought to the Affirmative Action Officer (AAO), located in the Office of the President.

        Formal Process
        If there is no resolution during the informal process, a formal process will be activated. The AAO and/or either party will contact the chairperson of the University Grievance Committee (UGC) to arrange a date, time and place for a formal hearing.

  6. “The male student, who isn’t a defendant in the lawsuit, repeatedly made sexual advances and graphic offensive comments about wanting to have sex with her, according to the lawsuit, which seeks an unspecified amount of damages.”

    There are shades to reality between your finger-daubed, cursory model of the world.
    EDIT: I now see less douchebags on this page.

  7. Question: why do law enforcement organizations maintain records/files on people after arrests or allegations that don’t result in charges?

    More importantly, why are such arrests or allegations *ever* allowed to show up in background checks? That’s just crazy.

  8. This. *This* is why I keep pinching myself to see if I am sleeping. Only to realize that I am awake and still in the US where I was born and raised.

    This guy, if anyone deserves their attention…Kinda wish Anonymous & the /b/tards would latch onto this fella that sexually harassed her and made her life hellish with the harassment and then with false allegations turned her world/life completely upside down. A world of nightmares where she is suddenly kicked out of the school and considered a terrorist and investigated by the FBI. Can only imagine the “lists” she is now on and will never be taken off of.

    This unnamed fellow is a shining definition of “Bastard”.

    Also, have to wonder if he is a “Scholar”/Athlete at the school.

  9. Despite the amount of bullshit perpetrated on this poor woman, I am mildly heartened at the conduct of the FBI and its agents, at least this time.

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