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Hundreds of students protest President Hirshman regarding BDS posters

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Hundreds of students protest President Hirshman regarding BDS posters

by Jamie Ballard, Will Fritz, and Jacob Sisneros

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Following a silent protest of San Diego State President Elliot Hirshman during a ceremony to swear in incoming Associated Students President Jamie Miller, protesters surrounded an SDSU Police cruiser containing Hirshman Wednesday evening and demanded an apology.

The protesters were critical of an email Hirshman sent out to all students on Tuesday regarding a number of posters made by the David Horowitz Center for Freedom, which named specific SDSU students and said they “have allied themselves with Palestinian terrorists to perpetuate BDS and Jew Hatred on this campus.”

In the email Hirshman wrote: “First, we recognize and fully support the rights of all parties to voice their positions on political issues, whether supportive or critical. We also understand that when parties adopt a specific political position they become responsible for their actions and these actions may produce criticism.”


The protesters said Hirshman’s email was not critical enough of the posters, and asked for stronger support from the administration. After swearing in Miller, Hirshman quietly left the council chambers when the protesters arrived. Outgoing A.S. President Blaire Ward tearfully offered her support for the protesters, who later voiced their concerns during a public comment session.

“We tried to engage with (Hirshman), but he quickly bolted out the door,” senior biology major Hassan Abdinur said.

After leaving the council chambers, protesters got word that Hirshman was in a police cruiser near the Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theater, and rushed to “trap” him. The police cruiser was surrounded for over two hours as students chanted and even began praying.

Hirshman eventually got out of the police vehicle and stood to the side, surrounded by members of his administrative staff, who formed a barrier around Hirshman and several leaders of the protest so they could speak.

“Things have been building up and building up and the university hasn’t done anything so this was our opportunity to kind of stand face-to-face, really close, actually I smelled his breath, with the president of the university and tell him how we feel about what’s going on,” Abdinur said.

SDSU senior Osama Alkhawaja said “what is lacking from our leadership is courage,” and implored not just Hirshman, but also members of A.S. to defend those named in the posters.

Alkhawaja directly addressed Hirshman.

“I wanted you to defend me,” he said. “They called us terrorists, and you didn’t defend us.”

Demonstrators demanded an apology from Hirshman. Initially, he refused to apologize for refusing to condemn the posters. He repeatedly said he would be happy to meet with the concerned students to discuss the matter, but the protest was not the appropriate way to have the discussion.

Alkhawaja said the protesters wouldn’t agree to leave simply after Hirshman promised to meet with him privately. He continued to demand an apology.

“The only thing that will get these students to leave is a public admission that you’re sorry for the way you’ve treated them,” Alkhawaja said.

“We have done things, inadvertently, that have upset or hurt people, and we are sorry for that,” Hirshman eventually said.

The university has not officially commented on the demonstration.

A.S. Board of Directors member Mustafa Alemi said he gathered with a group of activists Tuesday night after seeing the email and planned the silent protest.

Alemi said preventing Hirshman from leaving via car wasn’t planned, but demanding an apology was.

“(We wanted) an apology to the entire student body for his disrespect and disregard for the student voice (and) opinion,” Alemi said. “Without our tuition money he’s not living the life he has right now and the fact that it took two to three hundred students to block his car to have a conversation with us is incredibly disrespectful.”

At one point during Hirshman’s discussion with the demonstration leaders, a woman in the crowd cried, “You’re not listening to us.”

“Well, we’re listening now,” said Randy Timm, Dean of Students.

Editor’s Note: We have updated this article to include a photo of the original flyer with the names of students blocked out.

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15 Responses to “Hundreds of students protest President Hirshman regarding BDS posters”

  1. gary fouse on April 28th, 2016 8:53 am

    Whatever happened to the law that said if you impede someone’s ability to leave (in this case 1-2 hours) that is a form of kidnapping? Why did the police take no action? Obviously because the weak kneed president ordered them not to.

    You only enbolden them and encourage the next incident of brown shirt tactics by this bunch.

  2. Abdul Keddou on April 29th, 2016 1:26 am

    Appeasing Islamist thugs/kidnappers only emboldens and encourages them.

    SDSU is becoming a national laughing stock as one of the nation’s Islamist-run indoctrination factories. Even notorious leftist UC Berkeley allowed “Islamophobic” Bill Maher to speak at the 2014 Winter Commencement ceremony after the UC President overruled student fascists who had banned him. Maher’s speech went off uninterrupted, proving that standing up to campus bullies only exposes them for what they are and they usually back down.

  3. gary fouse on April 28th, 2016 9:12 am

    How about the California law on false imprisonment? While kidnapping probably entails moving a person, the below laws seems more applicable.

  4. Abdul Keddou on April 29th, 2016 1:20 am

    Absolutely true.

    Permitting their thuggish tactics is nothing more than Muslim PRIVILEGE.

  5. Ted Ginn on April 28th, 2016 5:58 pm

    Hirshman should be fired for his double standard towards muslim students. This poster was racist and xenophobic and Hirshman should’ve denounced the hate speech in his first email.

  6. Richard on April 28th, 2016 10:01 pm

    Nothing like trying to convince people you are not a terrorist by trapping the university president in a police car for an hour. These protestors showed that they run this campus, not the administration. Even the police didn’t shut this down. People should reflect on this before sending their kids to this school. If the college president is powerless against these groups of bullies on campus, what hope does your kid have? And by the way, this college has shown these radicals that they can be bullied. Want to bet it happens again?

  7. Abdul Keddou on April 29th, 2016 1:18 am

    The sheer thuggery of Osama Alkhawaja and his fellow Muslims in surrounding President Hirshman’s vehicle and preventing him from leaving for TWO HOURS should have led to their arrest.

    It also confirms accusations that these Jew-haters ARE in fact terrorists.

    SDSU cops need to be out in full force when student-sponsored speaker Horowitz appears next week on campus to assure these Muslim thugs dont pull any more of their strong-arm Jihadist tactics and arrest those who cause problems.

  8. Robert Nessler on April 29th, 2016 8:01 am

    Why did Dr. Hirschman ultimately apologize – because he was sorry, or because he was surrounded by a hundred angry people? Is an apology under physical duress really an apology?

    This was physical bullying, period. I’m seriously ashamed of my alma mater.

    Robert Nessler.

  9. Steve on April 29th, 2016 9:33 am

    I am proud of you students. I can’t believe that Hirshman did not immediately condemn the printing of student’s names on these flyers! It’s obvious that he has no ability to separate his own personal biases from his responsibility his to protect students.

  10. George Roxandich on April 29th, 2016 12:04 pm

    The poster does not accuse anyone of terrorism. It states that they have allied themselves with terror organizations or persons.
    This pitiful of a level of reading comprehension is either woefully ignorant or despicably dishonest.

  11. Michael Shine on May 1st, 2016 7:30 pm

    It is interesting that those terrorizing the president are the ones that are hollering at him that they are not terrorists while they kidnap him (see previous posts).

  12. Maria G. on May 2nd, 2016 2:31 pm

    Terrorism (noun): “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.”
    Hmmmm, a an angry mob “trapping” the President’s car and refusing to let him leave (the use of violence and intimidation) until he complies with their demands for an apology (in pursuit of political aims) … and they say that they are not terrorists?? … Don’t they know that a coerced apology is worthless anyway?

    Guess what? You act like a terrorist, people have a right to call you a terrorist, and it is not the President’s job to protect you.

  13. Bjorn Steller on May 5th, 2016 10:21 am

    I find it very interesting that those individuals who are named on that Horowitz flier find it offensive that their name is being used on a flier that identifies them as supporters of BDS, even though they do not deny the facts that they support BDS?They just don’t want to be labeled “terrorists”. BDS is targeting Israels legitimacy, the very existence of that State. Consider the circumstances how this has been done from the Palestinian side for decades, including suicide bombs, attacks on public busses, more recently knife attacks on bystanders, and the complete refusal on the political side to accept the State of Israel. All these are trademarks of a terrorist organization. To question those fliers as an “incitement” and that they are not protected under “Free Speech” but calling for the elimination and to delegitimize Israel is not an incitement is about as backwards as someone can have it. I do believe in our constitution and you are welcome to live as our Constitution regulates our social lives but you would have to enter the 21st century of human rights, social equality and freedom and behave this way. So far you only have acted just as terrorists and have not committed to the freedom and liberty of all.

  14. Bjorn Steller on May 5th, 2016 10:37 am

    And an additional comment might be necessary towards the SJP. The SJP is not the Social Justice Activist Program but Students for Justice in Palestine. This organization believes as well that the State of Israel has no legitimate, legal right to exist and is anti-semitic. Here I just want to point to the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution. This organization with their anti-semitiic stand is not on the grounds with what our Constitution is all about. You might want to rethink your allegiances here or find yourself in a hurry on a certain list of “hate groups” with possible ties to terrorist organizations.

  15. Joe on May 6th, 2016 12:39 pm

    What has become of SDSU? Glad I graduated from there years ago and did not have this bs going on there then

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