Students and community members call for Hirshman’s resignation

Jamie Ballard

by Jamie Ballard, News Editor

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Several students and members of community organizations including the National Action Network called for San Diego State President Elliot Hirshman’s resignation in a press conference on May 4.

The press conference was begun by NAN San Diego chapter Vice President Chris Garnier and included several other speakers, including NAN San Diego chapter President Rev. Shane Harris, who Garnier said would “speak on the issue of hatred that we believe is transpiring within San Diego State University.”

Rachel Beck, one of the activists named on the anti-Boycott, Divest, Sanction fliers that were placed on campus recently, spoke about her struggles with the administration. Beck, along with student activist Osama Alkhawaja met with members of the administration on May 2 to discuss their concerns.

“I spent three hours speaking to members of my administration, and I really feel that some of them support us. But President Hirshman is not one of them,” Beck said tearfully.

“We tried to voice to him – there are students who don’t feel safe on your campus, students who are getting threats … he should absolutely step down from this university,” she said.

Several other people spoke, including student Alexander James, who was also named on the poster, as well as Reverend Shane Harris with the National Action Network.

“We are not asking for anything that has not already been done … this is not a unique event,” said James, an SDSU graduate and former member of Students for Justice in Palestine.

Several of the speakers referred to other campus events which they believe Hirshman failed to respond properly to, including campus sexual assaults and instances of racism.

At one point, a student in the audience asked why the activists didn’t speak out about those issues when they happened. “Where were you then?” he said.

Beck stepped back up to the podium. “We have been here. We have been fighting. Maybe you weren’t here, but we were,” she said.

After Rev. Harris began taking questions, one man asked, “Is Hamas a terrorist organization?”

“Of course they are a terrorist organization,” Beck responded.

“We’re only asking the media to ask questions … we’re not asking anybody to come and antagonize the press conference,” Rev. Harris told the man who had asked the question.

“I thought this was a press conference. We have freedom of speech, no?” the man asked.

Rev. Harris continued to say the press conference was for media only.

“So as soon as it turns hostile, you end it?”

“I love this kind of discourse on campus, the only thing I’m not quite getting is the connection between those flyers and being anti-Muslim,” said the President of SDSU College Democrats, Zach Bunshaft.

 

Check back at thedailyaztec.com for updates as this story develops.

 

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