Rick Kamdar, a senior at American University, has been expelled for calling another student a gay slur.
But there’s more to the story (reg required)…
Kamdar said the incident began when he asked a student on the quad for a light, and the student’s friend told Kamdar to “Go back to India.” Kamdar then used an anti-gay slur against the student and the two began pushing each other. The fight was quickly broken up by Public Safety.
Although Kamdar was expelled, the student who allegedly started the whole thing faces no disciplinary action whatsoever.
Kamdar is appealing the decision, hoping that he will be allowed to finish his last semester or at least have the dismissal removed from his transcript. “After three years of fighting cancer, I was only going to graduate a year late,” he said. “I would not throw [my education] away.” Kamdar said he is planning to sue the university over the hearing.
Before I go any further, I’d like to acknowledge that I couldn’t find much else about this case. So my comments are limited by what I know from this article (and if we have any readers from AU who are more familiar with this story, feel free to let me know if there are any factual errors in this post).
First, it’s never ok to use a gay slur. I don’t care what the context is — even if you’re surrounded only by straight people and you say it in jest, it’s still not ok. I’m not going to defend Kamdar’s use of it, nor am I going to defend this silly excuse of his:
“The word fag is a very common word; it doesn’t always mean gay,” Kamdar said. “Did I know he was gay? No. Apparently American University has concluded that people can look gay.”
That being said, why is he being disciplined and not the person who provoked him in the first place? Why the double standard?
And is an expulsion really necessary? If Kamdar had committed a hate crime, or had verbally harassed a gay student for no reason, then yes, I would think that an expulsion is appropriate. But this situation is a little bit more complex. And I also have to wonder: has every person who has ever used this word at AU been expelled? I assume not. If the university wants to make an example of Kamdar, fine — sentence to him community service or put him on probation. Expulsion, on the other hand, seems pretty extreme. (And yes, I would argue that if someone were to use a racial slur in a similar situation, then an expulsion wouldn’t be warranted, either.)
I’d be interested to see how this story develops. Again, feel free to let me know if you’re more familiar with this case and/or there are details that I’m unaware of.