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Group calls for sensitivity training at Missouri university


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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on the University of Missouri to implement sensitivity training after a Muslim student filed a lawsuit alleging that a biology professor directed a slew of sexually suggestive and religiously offensive remarks at her.

Chapter Executive Director Faizan Syed on Wednesday called for mandatory cultural sensitivity training.

"There should be meaningful, in-person cultural sensitivity training to prevent this type of action from happening again," Syed said.

The University of Missouri System Board of Curators announced in November mandatory diversity, inclusion and equity training for all faculty, staff and incoming students.

Fatma El-Walid filed the lawsuit on Nov. 30, claiming that biology professor Michael Garcia directed offensive language and sexual comments toward her during the spring semester. El-Walid claims the remarks were made in March.

She is seeking more than $25,000 in damages and wants the university to punish Garcia.

According to the lawsuit Garcia asked El-Walid if her parents had waterboarded her "as a child in preparation for the future." The lawsuit also claims that he wanted to know if her faith made her hate Jews.

The incident allegedly happened during a meeting that about nine students attended. It was anonymously reported to the university.

The Columbia Daily Tribune (http://bit.ly/1k56PxX ) reports that Josh Oxenhandler, an attorney for Garcia, has said that his client denies the allegations.

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com

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