Possible hate crime against Muslim women investigated on UW Bothell campus

BOTHELL, Wash. — The University of Washington Bothell is investigating reports of a possible hate crime.

Last week, several Muslim students say they were approached by men who demanded that they remove their hijabs.

The atmosphere on the campus is so tense right now that minority students told us our cameras were making them feel unsafe.

We had to meet Nathan Thomas — editor of UW Bothell’s student newspaper — off campus in order to do an interview.

Thomas has been covering student issues for more than a year and says there are currently some big ones.

"The presidential election has been huge,” Thomas told us.

He says after several hateful fliers referencing anti-white rhetoric were posted around campus and several female students reported a group of men demanding they remove their hijabs, about a hundred people gathered in the middle of campus Tuesday and then marched to City Hall, protesting Donald Trump’s win as well as hate.

"It's what we do as a university, we welcome the freedom of expression,” said Lisa Hall, spokesperson for the University of Washington Bothell.

Hall says the university is still looking into the hijab incident.

"We don't tolerate that type of behavior.

We want our students to feel safe,” Hall explained.

We interviewed a Muslim student who talked about her newfound fears, but a large group of students pulled her aside afterwards and convinced her she should not be talking to a reporter.

“Yeah, it spooks them.

I think people don't feel safe. They think they're going to have someone come enact revenge on them for their beliefs and who they are,” said Thomas.

He’s says that’s just one example of how fearful people are right now, and why students are pushing more than ever for a diversity center — still in the development stage.

Also, in the next few days the university will have what officials are calling a bias report form available on the website.

Any student who feels that he or she has been the victim of a hate-related incident can simply go online, fill out that form, and the university will investigate.

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