Long Island U. settles lawsuit with fired resident assistants

NEW YORK — The C.W. Post campus of Long Island University settled a lawsuit Wednesday filed by five students who claimed the private university was wrong when it fired them from their resident assistant posts because they made a video alleged to be offensive to Muslims.

The details of the out-of-court settlement, which were not publicly released, was settled to the “mutual satisfaction of all parties,” according to a joint statement from the university and the students’ attorney. Both sides declined to add further comments citing the legal constraints of the agreement.

The ordeal began last month when the five resident assistants were fired after a video they made spoofing a hostage situation appeared on the Internet. During the two-minute video, titled “A Duck Napping,” four of the students appear in ski masks holding a rubber duck as “hostage.” They make ransom demands in broken English while Middle Eastern-sounding music is played in the background, and the words “Muhammad” and “jihad” are heard.

One of the students, Robert Bennet, told Newsday that the lines in the video were taken from the 2004 film “Team America: World Police.”

The five students filed a $2.5 million lawsuit in a state court, and in early February a judge ordered a temporary restraining order reinstating the students until Wednesday’s hearing. It has not been revealed if the settlement awarded the students money or allowed them to keep their jobs. The university’s housing office declined to speak on the students’ employment status.

By Brian Hudson, SPLC staff writer

  • State court issues temporary restraining order reinstating Long Island U. resident assistants News Flash, 2/16/2006