Students pray in Clivner=Field Plaza to protest prayer space issue

Justina Dodani

Members of Baruch College’s Muslim community expanded protesting efforts, holding prayer in the Clivner=Field Plaza every Thursday since March 5.

The Thursday prayers come after the Baruch administration told students it currently would not change the location of the meditation room, the current multi-faith space on campus.

“Our biggest hope is to be seen, heard, and acknowledged,” Zainab Akhtar, President of Women In Islam, said in a written statement shared with The Ticker. “Our efforts are being brushed off by Baruch authoritative figures and we know all students deserve a place to pray and fulfill their religious obligations.”

Baruch’s Muslim Student Association posted about the protest on their Instagram. 

It also posted a ‘Prayer Protest FAQ’ listing students’ demands and a reel that amassed over 27,000 plays.

Akhtar said the prayer space issue affects many students on campus and extends beyond the Muslim community.

“If over 500 Muslim students are protesting for this cause at Baruch alone, think of all the other faiths that are going unaccommodated as well,” she said.

The current space is not large enough to meet the demand.

“Baruch never provided a sufficient space for students to use for prayer,” Akhtar said. “The room that is currently labeled as the official mediation room is a club suite, only meant to accommodate 20 people max at a time.”

Since spring 2022, students have asked administration to consider providing students with larger accommodations. Akhtar said even a space just big enough to accommodate around 60 people would be more suitable.

She said students have emailed, petitioned and met with faculty, but have not seen any administrators commit to working on the issue themselves.

“Email after email, we’ve only been sent on a wild-goose-chase with each authority figure passing us off to the next– none wanting to give us the time of day,” Akhtar said.