Created as a partnership between the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group (NSPIRG) and the Dalhousie Student Union, the kits will include a piece of fabric, pins, a wrapping guide, and also tips and phone numbers for reporting crimes, the International Business Times reported.
— CTV Edmonton (@ctvedmonton) November 28, 2017
"We were hearing about safety concerns from Muslim students across campus," Amina Abawajy, Dalhousie's student union president, told the National Post Tuesday, noting that the campaign idea arose out of a desire to ease students worries and raise awareness about hate crimes on campus.
According to Masuma Khan, Dalhousie student executive, several women have been targeted for wearing Muslim headscarves.
"Islamophobia is on the rise at the university," Khan said. "Sometimes you don't even notice it, like you're in class and someone will spit on you from behind and you don't realize it until you're fixing your hijab. It's the most demeaning behavior."
The university itself does not agree that hate crimes are on the rise and says it hasn't had reports of such incidents taking place.
"The university has not had a case where someone has had their headdress targeted," Janet Bryson, the university's senior communications manager, told the outlet, adding that the school's "expectation is that they won't have to be used."
Clark MacIntosh from NSPIRG, chalks up the fact that no such reports have been made to the same reasons rape victims sometimes avoid reporting assault.
"There is a level of identity and safety that comes with a head covering. So when that is taken away, it puts someone in a vulnerable position," MacIntosh said. "To then have to speak with security or police could be re-traumatizing."
Online, netizens were brutally honest in their opinions on the kits, even going as far as calling them "sensational trash."
— Briek🌪 (@New_Pants) November 28, 2017
— Frank Magazine (@Frank_Mag) November 29, 2017
— Elite_Dems_R_Poison (@DeeDeCrist) November 29, 2017
— Shireen Footybedsheets Ahmed (@_shireenahmed_) November 29, 2017
Since the launch, 20 kits have been distributed to the university's campuses in Halifax and in Truro. IB Times reported that dozens more will be "made available in the coming days."