Honors student set to receive communications award at Barry University in Miami told college officials she wanted to start a club to support ISIS
Student organizations chief told her she could get funding for group called ‘Sympathetic Students in Support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’
‘They are terrorists,’ she told him, ‘but we’re trying to help them, we’re trying to educate them and give them funding’
‘We’re not here to limit people,’ the university administrator replied, and agreed with her request to ‘pass out Islamic State flags’ at a school event
The VP for student affairs told Daily Mail Online, ‘Barry University would not approve any group supporting a terrorist organization’
Project Veritas, a conservative group run by guerilla filmmaker James O’Keefe, made the startling video
Group previously filmed a Cornell University dean saying an ISIS ‘freedom fighter’ could host a training camp at the Ivy League school
Hidden camera footage released Monday morning shows officials and faculty at Barry University advising a senior – identified only as ‘Laura’ – about the best way to secure funding for a club she called ‘Sympathetic Students in Support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.’ ‘I want to start fundraising efforts on campus, and what I want to do is raise funds to send overseas,’ she told Derek Bley, the school’s Coordinator for Leadership Development and Student Organizations. Bley offered to help her create the organization and agreed with her request to ‘pass out Islamic State flags and educate people’ at an annual student ‘Festival of Nations’ fair. The video is from Project Veritas, a conservative ‘guerilla film-making group’ that last week captured a Cornell University dean agreeing that ISIS and Hamas would be welcome at the Ivy League school.
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO
Barry University, based in Miami Shores, has received more than $112 million in federal grants and contracts, and another $109 million from Florida taxpayers since 2000, Project Veritas said Monday, citing figures from OpenTheBooks.com.
It also once received tuition money from retired NBA great Shaquille O’Neal, who graduated in 2012 with a doctorate in Education. His final ‘capstone project’ – a load-lightened version of a doctoral dissertation – focused on ‘humor and seriousness in leadership styles,’ according to the Miami New Times. The school’s mission statement says ‘all members of our community’ must ‘accept social responsibility to foster peace and nonviolence.’ Yet Bley was enthusiastic about Laura’s terror-funding venture. ‘We’re not here to limit people and their clubs, he said. ‘If there a demand or a need, or an interest that students have to do this, we’re here to support that.’
‘If you’ve got … people who are interested, and this is something you want take and run with,’ he added. ‘we’re here to help you get that done.’
Laura put the murderous ISIS army’s credentials front-and-center. ‘They are terrorists,’ she told Bley, ‘but, like, we’re trying to help them. We’re trying to, like, educate them and give them funding so that they don’t have to be impoverished and get involved in acts of violence.’ ‘You should create jobs and help promote education in the Islamic State,’ she added later, ‘because that’s what helps reduce terrorism.’
That was a subtle jab at U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf, who said last month on MSNBC that ‘we cannot kill our way out of this war’ with ISIS.’ The Obama administration, Harf said, should instead ‘go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups’ – including ‘lack of opportunity for jobs.’ At one point Laura expanded her fictional club’s mandate to include providing paper and pencils to the ‘widows and orphans’ of dead ISIS jihadis.
Another part of her pitch to college officials was a mission that included providing flashlights to ISIS fighters and their families. ‘A lot of the facilities have been destroyed’ in Iraq and Syria, she said, ‘so there is not a lot of electricity and power.’ ‘A lot of the fighters, they can’t see at night, you know?’ she continued. ‘So, like, people are attacking them and they can’t see at night. And because they are so poor, like, they don’t have night vision and stuff.’ Bley explored the idea, speculating about the ‘thousands of dollars’ it might cost to send ‘bulk shipments’ of flashlights to the Middle East, ‘like the ones at Costco and stuff.’ The only objection Laura encountered was related to the group’s proposed name. ‘The only thing, as far as the name [goes],’ she heard from Frederique Frage, the university’s associate director of international and multicultural programs, is that ‘technically our country is at war with ISIS’.
Frage was quick to add: ‘I am not saying that – at all – ISIS represents Islam.’
But students might have ‘some reservation’ supporting a group engaged in a ‘humanitarian effort’ aimed at the terror group, she said. ‘It’s just unfortunate.’ Another multicultural program administrator, Daisy Santiago, chimed in that Laura should rename her group ‘Students in Support of the Middle East’ – ‘as opposed to having the ‘ISIS’ [name].’
A professor who runs the university’s honors program later agreed to serve as the pro-ISIS club’s faculty advisor. Laura explained that despite a less focused name that didn’t include any mention of terror groups, her organization’s mission would remain ‘raising money and sending it to the Islamic State.’ Professor Pawena Sirimangkala responded: ‘I’ll sign. I’m glad to do it.’ Laura, an email from a Barry University administrator confirms, is set to receive an award on Monday from the school, as the ‘outstanding senior in the Communication Department.’ In December the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal government agency, named Barry University to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The distinction acknowledges universities that place a premium on community service efforts.
Daily Mail Online has contacted the university staff named in the video and has not received a comment from them. In a statement provided to Daily Mail Online by the university, Scott Smith, vice president for student affairs, said, ‘There has been no formation of an ISIS-related humanitarian aid group at Barry University’ and that ‘ no paperwork’ has ‘ever’ been filed to create such an organization.
‘If a student or students are interested in forming a recognized student organization, they are advised on the established processes to follow for approval,’ Smith stated. ‘However, submitting a request does not guarantee approval since the purpose of all student groups must be in accordance with Barry University’s Mission Statement and Core Commitments.
‘Barry University would not approve any group supporting a terrorist organization.’