New York University wants to make its sinks foot-free.
As more than a dozen universities and colleges across the country have done, the school is looking to install foot baths for ritualistic cleansing in a new Islamic center proposed for its more-than-1,500 Muslim students.
"It's something that's being looked at as part of the new interfaith center," said university spokeswoman Kelly Franklin.
While a home for the center has yet to be secured, NYU is in talks with the Archdiocese of New York about buying its building at 238 Thompson St., where the student Catholic and Islamic centers are currently housed.
In a bathroom there by the Muslim prayer room - as well as in more-visible university bathrooms - Muslim students wash before each of five daily prayers, a task they precariously conclude by rinsing their feet in hip-high sinks.
Although students haven't been clamoring for foot baths, according to leaders and members of NYU's Muslim community, they would prefer them to standard sinks where washing leads to wet floors, dirty conditions and, at times, uncomfortable moments.
"The foot part is definitely the most difficult," said Rida Aslam, 17, a freshman from Brooklyn.
Having other students "just walking in and seeing us have our feet in the sink - it's awkward," she added.
Graduate student Tahir Saeed, here from England, said he would welcome foot baths - as simple as a spigot and drain in the corner - like the ones he used as an undergraduate student at the University of London. (READ MORE)