News / Regina

New University of Regina bathroom facilities help Muslim students prepare for prayer

The University of Regina is going to great lengths to help its Muslim students avoid doing the same when washing for on-campus prayer sessions.

The university has installed “foot-baths” in a public washroom at its Riddell Centre, in order to allow Muslim students — many of whom pray numerous times a day, and wash themselves beforehand — to clean their feet in a way that isn’t awkward and difficult through a use of regular sinks.

“I’ve seen them do it. It’s tough for them,” Nathan Sgrazzutti, president of the U of R Students Union, said on Tuesday of the troubles that many of the more than 700 practising Muslims at the campus had experienced when preparing for prayers.

“We’re showing our ability to cater to their needs.”

Two foot-baths, resembling large sinks with seats, are in a men’s washroom following their installation earlier this summer at what university spokesman Dale Johnson said was a total cost of about $35,000.

“I haven’t been in the women’s washroom, but I’m under the understanding it’s in both,” Sgrazzutti said, lauding the U of R’s administration for its efforts to assist Muslim students from Regina and those who have come to the campus from other countries.

“There was a bit of a push from our Muslim students society as well as the students union, and the university was very receptive.”

An “official opening” for the foot-baths, said Johnson, will be held by Muslim students on Oct. 2.

“It’s a really neat addition,” Sgrazzutti said of the new bathroom facilities, which some refer to as “foot-sinks.”

“They’re very new. I still have people asking me what they are.”

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