Following the posting of a controversial flier at San Diego State University that listed names of anti-Israel students, alleging they had connections to terrorist groups, dozens of protesters trapped the college president in a car for about two hours.
The ordeal began on the third floor of the Student Union, where students knew president Elliott Hirshman would be, according to CBS 8. From there, the protesters followed him down the stairs and out the door, when he ended up huddled inside a police car for more than one hour.
Students hang one of many posters closer to where president Hirshman is addressing students. pic.twitter.com/113bKZi2RT— The Daily Aztec (@TheDailyAztec) April 28, 2016
The controversial poster was first circulated around SDSU's campus by conservative writer David Horowitz's Freedom Center, which is known for posting provocative broadsides at various college campuses.
The frustration with Hirshman began when, after the poster was brought to his attention, he failed to offer a response that satisfied the anti-Israel students who were accused of associating themselves with Palestinian terrorist organizations.
Protesters surround a car with Hirshman in it. Currently chanting for him to step down pic.twitter.com/x7Z0yj15Yi— The Daily Aztec (@TheDailyAztec) April 28, 2016
Protesters taking time to pray pic.twitter.com/BeMaxJX3MK— The Daily Aztec (@TheDailyAztec) April 28, 2016
"I had people from my classes that did not know I was part of activism, and they were like, 'Why is your name up there?'" student Tessa Wiley, whose name was on the poster, said.
In the email the president first published, he said the university supports the rights of all groups to voice their opinions on political issues, but recognizes the problems that could arise from publishing specific individuals' names, adding that it could discourage other students from taking part in the campus's political discourse.
But that answer was not bold enough for some protesters.
"He did not condemn it," Wiley said. "He did not come out and say, 'We do not stand for this.' These are students, not terrorists."
After a little more than an hour, Hirshman finally stepped out of the police cruiser to speak with the student protesters, who immediately began calling on the college leader to resign his post.
Hirshman apologizes and exits pic.twitter.com/d8LNooLJCL— The Daily Aztec (@TheDailyAztec) April 28, 2016
Each of the students listed on the poster were contacted by college administration, according to a spokesperson from SDSU's Student Affairs office. He said student frustration has nothing to do with the school not responding, but because protesters didn't like the university's comment.
Noting that many students remain frustrated with the way Hirshman handled the issue, the spokesperson said a potential meeting between administration and protesters should take place in the near future.
Woman in the crowd speaks out against the protest and sparks dialogue with the student protesters. pic.twitter.com/lrHNSS3jnB— The Daily Aztec (@TheDailyAztec) April 28, 2016
Similar posters have shown up at the campuses of UC Berkeley and UC Los Angeles. Administration officials at both colleges have publicly condemned the postings.
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