BROOKVILLE, N.Y. – Long Island University has fired five students from their positions as resident assistants at the C.W. post campus after they posted a fake hostage video on the Internet with the pretend hostage takers speaking in Middle Eastern accents.
"This is not an issue of free speech, but rather an issue of respect for others and insensitively to acts of violence," university Provost Joseph Shenker said in a statement obtained by FOXNews.com
In the video, five figures in ski masks speak in crude Middle Eastern accents as they threaten a 'captive' — a rubber duck named 'Pete' that serves as the mascot of a residence hall at the campus, Newsday first reported. The video was posted on the Web sites Google and YouTube, but it has since been removed, according to the newspaper.
A search of those two sites on Thursday also failed to recover the video, which Shenker said was reported by residence life staff to administrators on Jan. 30.
Rabiah Ahmed of The Council on American-Islamic Relations told FOXNews.com that based on what was reported about the video, “it does stereotype Muslims in a negative way.”
“We’ve conducted surveys that have considerably said that anti-Muslim sentiment is a real issue in America and it continues to be after 9/11," Ahmed added, "Shows like '24' and 'Sleeper Cell' constantly depict Muslims as terrorists, and if people don’t have daily access to Muslims it does shape their views."
When asked whether this type of behavior is common at other college campuses, Ahmed said, “I wouldn’t be surprised. We see offensive t-shirts, and online, we see videos on YouTube.”
The video was accompanied by a statement saying it was a joke, but university administrators saw it as insensitive, Newsday reported.
"At C.W. Post, we take seriously our obligation to create a campus environment that is free of prejudice and intolerance," Shenker said in the statement sent to FOXNews.com. "We do not condone any behaviors that demean the dignity of individuals or groups of people. We don’t find anything about terrorism and hostage-taking to be humorous. We insist on a campus where respect for others is demonstrated at all times."
The five students involved in the video were dismissed from jobs as residence hall assistants, though Shenker said they would still get free housing and meals in exchange for 10 hours a week of community service.
Student employees were expected to serve as role models, and "we expect them to instruct our students to respect all human differences, including those pertaining to ethnic and religious backgrounds," he said.
The five students, all seniors, would face a hearing either this week or next week, but Shenker didn't say what other disciplinary action could result.
An attorney for the students, Frederick K. Brewington, told Newsday he felt the college's actions were unfair.
One of the students involved told the newspaper that Brewington had advised him and the other fired student resident assistants not to comment beyond saying, "We're getting our ducks in a row."
C.W. Post has about 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students.
FOXNews.com's Kevin McCarthy contributed to this report.