WU sanctions Alkilani with probation, $500 fine and essay for flag removal, per confidential letter publicized by College Republicans president

and | Editor in Chief and Managing Editor
The Washington University seal sits in front of stairs leading under an arch. A person walks up the right side of the stairs.

The arch at Brookings Hall. (Photo by Curran Neenan/Student Life)

Washington University sanctioned Student Union Vice President of Finance senior Fadel Alkilani this month with probation for the remainder of his enrollment, a $500 restitution fine and a reflective essay for removing commemorative 9/11 flags from Mudd Field last month.

News of the sanctions became public Wednesday evening after president of the College Republicans junior Nick Rodriguez, who had submitted a complaint to the University regarding the flag removal, sent a University letter labeled “personal and confidential” detailing Alkilani’s sanctions to the College Republicans email list. Young America’s Foundation, the organization that had first called attention to the flag removal in September, published an article about the sanctions the same day. 

Alkilani’s removal of the flags made national news and sparked controversy on campus last month, as some students criticized Chancellor Andrew Martin for condemning the removal of the flags but not the online Islamophobic comments and threats that followed the story’s circulation. 

The conduct outcome letter, dated Oct. 15 from Associate Dean for Student Conduct and Community Standards Sheryl Mauricio, said Alkilani had violated five sections of the Student Conduct Code. Violations included interfering with the rights of other members of the University community, knowingly furnishing false information to the University, knowingly making a false claim to represent a student group of the University, failure to comply with the reasonable and lawful request of University officials and theft. As part of Alkilani’s probation, further Student Conduct Code violations will result in the Student Conduct Board determining sanctions which can include suspension or expulsion.

According to Mauricio’s letter, Washington University Police Department officers said Alkilani claimed to be a member of the College Republicans replacing old flags with new ones when a WUPD officer initially confronted him, and then after being told to leave, returned to the field to continue gathering flags. 

Alkilani declined Student Life’s request for comment and did not say whether he had appealed or planned to appeal the student conduct ruling. Rodriguez told YAF that Alkilani was removed from his position as a resident advisor. Alkilani said in a message to Student Life Thursday that he had not been terminated from the position.

The University’s sanctions did not address Alkilani’s position on SU. Some legislators have discussed impeaching or recalling him, but no official impeachment inquiry and no recall petition has been released. Rodriguez told YAF that the College Republicans plan to pursue Alkilani’s impeachment. He declined to comment to Student Life Thursday. 

The removal of Alkilani would require either a recall petition or an impeachment inquiry, according to the SU constitution. Any constituent or SU member may submit a recall petition. After the submission, the constitutional council decides whether to hear the case, which would include a public hearing with evidence and witnesses, and then votes on recalling the SU member. If they vote in favor of the recall, members of the executive council, which consists of the executive branch and speakers of both legislative bodies, would make a final determination on Alkilani’s removal from SU. 

SU legislators can also bring an impeachment inquiry, and if two thirds of the relevant legislative body votes in favor, along with the majority of the other legislative body, then the constitutional council hears the case. The constitutional council would vote to determine if Alkilani would be removed from his position. 

Mauricio was not able to immediately respond to Student Life’s request for comment Thursday evening. Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Rob Wild wrote in an email to Student Life that the University does not comment on confidential conduct or employment matters.

Orli Sheffey contributed reporting

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