IL: MUSLIMS' REQUEST FOR SPACE REJECTED
Athletic officials will not establish a designated prayer space for Muslim students at sporting events held at Ryan Field and Welsh-Ryan Arena, said John Mack, Northwestern's associate athletic director of external affairs.
Instead, officials will grant certain concessions, such as allowing prayer rugs into the stadiums and letting students pray in places that do not block traffic flow.
The decision came after Muslim students expressed a need for clean prayer areas in January. Associated Student Government passed a resolution asking the athletic department to meet with the Muslim-cultural Students Association to explore possible accommodations.
Mack met with Muslim students, ASG representatives and the university chaplain last month, and informed them in an e-mail last week of the athletic department's decision.
"I thought the meeting was productive," Mack said. "It was a good compromise for both sides."
Hibah Yousuf, McSA's ASG senator, said the decision was suitable, but not ideal.
"We had a hard time meeting with the athletic department at first, but they were very helpful once we met," said Yousuf, a Medill sophomore. "We're appreciative of their efforts in finding places for us to pray."