A second-semester senior expelled from AU for discrimination, physical abuse and conduct that endangers others will be submitting an appeal to the Judicial Affairs and Mediation Services and is considering suing the university.
Rick Kamdar, formerly a senior in the Kogod School of Business, was expelled for an incident that occurred Nov. 18, in which a verbal fight on the Letts-Anderson Quad escalated into a physical altercation.
Kamdar said the incident began when he asked a student on the quad for a light, and the student’s friend told Kamdar to “Go back to India.” Kamdar then used an anti-gay slur against the student and the two began pushing each other. The fight was quickly broken up by Public Safety.
“The word fag is a very common word; it doesn’t always mean gay,” Kamdar said. “Did I know he was gay? No. Apparently American University has concluded that people can look gay.”
While JAMS also charged Kamdar with physical abuse and conduct that endangers others, he said he was told by the Student Advocacy Center that discrimination leads to an immediate dismissal. However, he said he feels the other student’s “Go back to India” comment was also discriminatory.
“The person who makes the complaint first always has the upper hand at this school,” Kamdar said.
When asked about his reaction to the incident, Nick Sakurai, the program coordinator of the Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center, said he did not know the details of JAMS’ decision and could not comment specifically on the case but generally felt biased incidents and biased violence have no place at AU.
“When I hear about this type of violence on campus, it does worry me,” Sakurai said.
Kamdar said his JAMS trial hearing was unfair. His lawyer advised him not to attend the hearing, but he decided to go anyway.
“I guess I had faith in the university, which was misplaced,” Kamdar said.
He said the hearing board, which is supposed to be composed of three students and two faculty members, had only two students. Also, the hearing date was Jan. 17, giving Kamdar only one day after his return from winter break to prepare.
“I have friends who want to protest and I told them not to,” Kamdar said, “but I’m going to tell them to go ahead.”
Kamdar is appealing the decision, hoping that he will be allowed to finish his last semester or at least have the dismissal removed from his transcript.
“After three years of fighting cancer, I was only going to graduate a year late,” he said. “I would not throw [my education] away.”
Kamdar said he is planning to sue the university over the hearing.
“At AU, it’s a matter of who sues who,” he said.