University Investigating After Student Accused of Removing 9/11 Memorial From St Louis Campus

Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, said it was investigating after it said a 9/11 memorial display was “disrupted” on campus on September 11.

A student identified as Fadel Alkilani was accused of removing 2,977 American flags commemorating the lives lost on September 11 2001.

In video by Nathaniel Hope, Alkilani can be seen holding several plastic bags stuffed with the flags. Hope told Storyful he was “disturbed” and “shocked” by the incident. In the video, Hope can be heard confronting the student, asking “Who are you?”

In a statement provided to Storyful, Alkilani said he had “no intention of removing the flags” and that his “full protest did not have the chance to be actualized.”

Alkilani said he had planned to place the bags of flags on the campus’s Mudd Field, as part of a protest, along with various statistics “explaining the human cost of 9/11 in the past 20 years.”

Alkilani said he “did not deface, destroy, damage, nor steal any flags…I assert that I did not violate any University Code of Conduct policy, though the conduct process is undergoing.”

The university’s chancellor Andrew D. Martin said: “I want to make it very clear that, as an institution, we find the actions of this student to be reprehensible. The removal of the flags impeded the ability of individuals to commemorate the lives lost on 9/11 and to process the trauma of that day.”

According to local reports, all 2,977 flags were replanted within hours. Credit: Nathaniel Hope via Storyful

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