College in Illinois Installed Footbaths for Muslim Students

October 5, 1999

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

On October 5, 1999, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Harper Community College in Palatine, IL installed footbaths in bathrooms at the student center for Muslim students. Footbaths, which are used to cleanse the feet of Muslims before the beginning of their daily prayers, were installed as a matter of health and safety. Bob Getz, physical plant director for the college, stated: "Our custodians would walk in and see [students] with one foot on the ground and one foot on the facial sink...It was kind of a dangerous situation." College officials approached the Muslim Students Association last year about the issue when planning was taking place for the renovation of bathrooms. The footbaths, which are basically low-to-the-ground sinks, can be used by custodians to dump mop water during the overnight shift. Charles Brown, faculty advisor to the Muslim Students Association, stated that there were 15 to 20 members last year.