Posts Tagged ‘Agustin Albarran’

Muslims seek an area on campus for prayer

Mohammad Sabir Abbassi stands in front of a hallway of the tech-mall where Muslims have been asked not to pray for the sake of public safety

Mohammad Sabir Abbassi stands in front of a hallway of the tech-mall where Muslims have been asked not to pray for the sake of public safety. (Photo: Russ Lindquist)

By Russ Lindquist

GROSSMONT COLLEGE–Mohammad Sabir Abbassi, a Grossmont student aimed at a career in Public Health and Social Work, is advocating for his fellow Muslim students on campus to have a comfortable place to pray throughout the day.  Abbassi is petitioning with flyers, promoting the cause.

Previously, complaints had arisen about Muslims praying in the corridors of the tech-mall. To be clear, no one, including Abbassi, finds the complaints to be directed towards Muslims for their being Muslims but rather the issue was one of public safety: The area where they currently pray leads to an emergency fire exit, the blocking of which is considered a fire hazard, school officials who received the complaint told Abbassi.

Arabic Instructor Dr. Sonia Ghattas-Soliman suggested that Muslims consider finding many separate areas as options for their daily prayer.  Agustin Albarran, associate dean of Student Affairs, suggested that Muslims perhaps hold a fundraiser to build a (non-denominational, religiously open) peace garden for the Muslims to pray in.

Muslims pray five times a day; typically each prayer lasts from five to ten minutes.  Dyari Qadir said she feels it is unfair for Muslims to be prohibited from praying in that hallway.

Qadir,  a member of the Muslim Student Association at Grossmont, stated that if an emergency were to arise that she would stop praying and vacate the building.

In response to suggestions that Muslims simply pray outside, Abbassi stated that some Muslims report having been harassed when they prayed outdoors.  Specifically, Abbassi told of a time when a Muslim woman was praying and approached by a woman who presumably was not Muslim, and the non-Muslim woman reportedly insisted, “You cannot pray here.”

When told of this incident, Dean Albarran assured: “Students–Muslim and otherwise–can pray anywhere on the campus that they want,” as long as it does not directly and adversely affect the learning of other students.  Students who feel they are being treated unfairly–in religious matters or otherwise–may call Dean Albarran at Grossmont’s Office of Student Affairs at 619-644-7600, or email the Dean at


Arce is a student in MediaComm 132; contact her at

Special video report: Our smoke-free campus

See the Special Video Report by Felipe Oliveira

GROSSMONT COLLEGE, Sept. 9 — It took several years for Grossmont College to ban smoking, according to Dean of Student Affairs Agustin Albarran.  In 2004 and 2005, a student named Rick Walker headed a campaign calling for it; and in 2006 student Sarah Moore helped bring the policy into reality.

In the first year of an experiment authorized by the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, Grossmont College restricted smoking to certain areas of the campus.   Thereafter, a full ban went into effect, requiring students who wanted to smoke to go off campus.

Predictably, there is a division of opinion today among smokers and non-smokers over the efficacy of the policy.  In interviews non-smokers Chuck Reid said he’s glad that as a result of the policy he doesn’t “have to smell fould disgusting cigarette smoke,” and Melissa Milstead said she’s pleased she doesn’t “have to breathe others’ nastiness.”

Smoker Joshua Jensma, on the other hand, said the policy was unnecessary.  He said that two reasons are often cited for it: to protect people against second-hand smoke and to guard against littering.

However, he added, littering is already against the law and subject to a fine.   Second-hand smoke, he added, could be avoided simply by avoiding areas on campus that were designated as smoking areas.
Preceding summarizes video report by Felipe Oliveira, a student in Media Comm 132, which produces the GC Summit

Grants available for programs reflecting campus diversity

 To the Editor

The World Arts and Cultures Committee (WACC) is soliciting applications of grant requests for funding of on-campus arts and cultural events to occur in the Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 semesters. The events that will be funded must fit within the Committee’s charge, which is:

“The World Arts and Cultures Committee aims to foster a climate of appreciation and respect for the diversity of values, ideas and cultural expressions represented by our students, staff, faculty and surrounding community. We will strive to accomplish our mission by bringing cultural events on campus reflecting the college’s position in today’s global society.”

The WACC grant request form may be found on its website. Grant requests for events scheduled to occur in the Fall 2010 semester should be submitted to the Student Affairs Office as soon as possible to allow time for deliberation by Committee members. The WACC Committee meets on the third Thursday of every month to consider grants. Requests will be considered as they are submitted on a “rolling basis” with earlier submissions preferred (please allow at least three weeks for approval).

Requests with missing details, requiring extra time seeking clarification or additional information, may not be funded. Also, requests submitted just prior to the event may not be funded. We look forward to working with campus groups to support their events.

Agustin Albarran
Associate Dean, Student Affairs