Detroit University to Review Sikh Students’ Rights

January 6, 2006

Source: Sikh America Legal Defense and Education Fund

On January 6, 2006 the Sikh America Legal Defense and Education Fund reported, "A Detroit university is reviewing its public safety norms after a judge ruled in favor of a Sikh student arrested for carrying the kirpan, a short dagger, as enjoined by his religion. Sikh student Sukhpreet Singh Garcha, 23, was arrested on the campus of Wayne State University on August 14 last year for carrying a 10-inch kirpan on his hip. He was charged with violating Detroit's knife ordinance, which prohibits carrying knives with blades longer than three inches. Detroit 36th District Court Judge Rudy Serra ruled last month that the knife ordinance was intended to apply to people carrying 'a knife as a weapon or for some unlawful purpose.' As Garcha was carrying the kirpan for religious reasons, the ordinance did not apply, the judge said... Following the ruling, Wayne State Public Safety Director Anthony Holt was quoted as saying that campus officers will not arrest Garcha or other Sikh students who carry a kirpan... The university's attorneys are reviewing possible changes to campus weapons policies to 'ensure that everyone can practice religion freely and feel safe on the campus,' Alexandra Matish, assistant general counsel for the college, was quoted as saying."