San Diego State University’s Jewish President Elliot Hirshman was hounded, bullied and trapped in a police car on Wednesday by pro-Islam student protesters who accused him of not doing enough to protect Muslim students on campus.
Some of the demonstrators performed Muslim prayers outside the police vehicle in which they had trapped Hirshman.
The students were protesting free speech as well as Hirshman’s alleged slow response to a series of fliers placed on campus by the David Horowitz Freedom Center that named seven SDSU students who “have allied themselves with Palestinian terrorists to perpetrate” hatred against Jewish students on campus.
— KCR College Radio (@KCRCollegeRadio) April 28, 2016
According to local ABC News affiliate in San Diego, 10 News, students trapped Hirshman in a police car for nearly an hour before making him exit the vehicle and forcing him to apologize for saying the flyers were allowed on campus as part of every persona’s First Amendment rights to exercise free speech. The students were also upset that it took Hirshman nearly two weeks to respond to their protests.
Hirshman speaking to a handful of students. pic.twitter.com/K7QoCE9vlt
— The Daily Aztec (@TheDailyAztec) April 28, 2016
Hirshman had reportedly issued a response, in conjunction with another student administrator, advising against naming students with varying viewpoints, as it could discourage them from participating in political discourse. “It’s always difficult balancing free speech with things that make people uncomfortable, and we deal with that every day on campus,” university spokesman Greg Block said, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. “But in the end, free speech wins out, and we support that.” Block further explained that “any time something happens on campus, people want the president to make a statement. He can’t make a statement for everything that happens.”
However, that was not enough for the radicals.
The students, led by Osama Alkhawaja, whose name also appeared on the flier linking him with terrorist entities, eventually forced Hirshman to issue an apology in front of the crowd of protesters after they linked hands and refused to budge.