The University of Southern Maine says it is prepared to press criminal charges against the man who allegedly harassed a female student of color during an incident Friday in Glickman Library on the Portland campus.

In a statement issued on its Facebook page, the university said the man who harassed the student is not a student himself. USM said the man will be issued a criminal trespass citation if he should try to re-enter the library.

“As a public university, we pride ourselves in being accessible to the public, but when someone exhibits this type of horribly inappropriate behavior, we will take as strong an action as the law permits,” the university said.

The affected student, Nimco Mohamed, has been posting information about the incident on her Facebook page.

Mohamed thanked the USM community for its support and added on Facebook: “I hope something positive comes out of this and hope to see real change enacted at the University of Southern Maine. Many students of color have since left USM because of experiences like this and enough is enough. USM must cherish, value, and create a safe space for their marginalized students at all times.”

Mohamed said she was minding her own business when a man approached her in the library and began to use profanity and racial slurs. When she tried to take a photograph of him, he told her to go back to her country.

That prompted the university to issue a second statement – posted on its website Monday – concerning the incident. It said the USM Public Safety Office was investigating.

“The Dean of Students Office has reached out to the student who was impacted and is identifying opportunities for our university community to come together to talk about race, racism, creating awareness and the ways we can support each other,” USM said in the statement. “It is important to know that the University of Southern Maine does not condone any form of harassment.”

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