As the controversy over a student's suicide-bomber Halloween costume continues to turn heads around the world, both the student and University officials are rushing to do damage control.
Engineering senior Saad Saadi wore his costume to Penn President Amy Gutmann's Halloween Tuesday night, and photos were taken of him posing with Gutmann, as well as with University Chaplain William Gipson.
Though these pictures were originally posted on Saadi's facebook.com profile, they were taken down yesterday afternoon.
Both Gutmann and Gispon said that when they took the pictures with Saadi, they weren't aware that he was dressed as a suicide bomber. Gutmann called the costume "offensive" and added that Saadi "had the right to wear the costume just as [she], and others, have a right to criticize his wearing of it."
Yesterday, Saadi , who is also a DP photographer, posted an apology on his personal Website, www.saadsaadi.com.
"We wish to make it clear that we do not support terrorism, violence, or anything that is against society. There is no agenda or statement associated with our behavior shown in these pictures," the statement said.
It is unclear whether the University will take further actions to address the matter.
"The University community as a whole has not had much time to get a solid sense as to what has happened," Gipson said.
Student groups, like Hillel and the Muslim Student Association, have responded with disapproval for Saadi's actions.
"Something like this not only affects the Muslim community . but this is something that is distasteful to the community at Penn," said Wharton junior and MSA president Khalid Usmani.
The Penn Hillel Student Executive Committee released a statement on Friday similarly condemning Saadi's actions.
"While some may dismiss these actions as straightforward Halloween amusement, many perceive this student to have displayed a disturbing disregard for the sensitivities of others," it said.
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